MOVIE REVIEW: The King (2019)

Hal (Timothée Chalamet) isn’t particularly interested in being king. He is much more interested in boozing, whoring and avoiding his ailing father, Henry IV (Ben Mendelsohn) who is on the English throne. No one is particularly keen for Hal to succeed his father, in fact all eyes are on his brother, Thomas (Dean-Charles Chapman).

At the death of Henry IV, Hal is given no choice and must immediately reform his old ways and face a threat of assassination from the French King. Unsure of who to trust, he turns to a loyal former military commander, Falstaff (Joel Edgerton). Now the two will face one of the most challenging campaigns in English history, the Battle of Agincourt.

I decided to watch this new Netflix original as part of my current Timothée Chalamet obsession. In terms of his performance, the brutality of the war scenes and the twisty nature of some of the behind the scenes machinations I enjoyed it. It’s a long film but it moves quickly and it’s a good story.

Every single scene involving Robert Pattinson playing the Dauphin is cringe worthy though. It’s not a particularly big part but it is fairly pivotal. I can’t believe there were no French actors or even actors who can do a French accent available. He completely ruined the film.

Ho ho… bonnet du douche, mange tout, mon cher!

Whether Henry V was a pacifist, forced into brutal war or this is a totally historically inaccurate take on his life is open for debate but watching the wrestle between duty and personal morality is always an interesting one. Chalamet is fascinating to watch and manages to be convincing both as the disaffected young Hal and the focused, rather imposing Henry V.

Overall, I think I would rather just watch The Last Kingdom and if it wasn’t for Chalamet, I don’t think you’d be missing much.

3/5

6 Comments

  1. I did Henry IV parts 1 and 2 for English Literature, and love the story. Falstaff is my favourite character in Shakespeare, but after seeing Orson Welles portrayal in ‘Chimes At Midnight’, I doubt anyone has ever bettered that.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. Joel Edgerton can be a bit wooden and he doesn’t stand out in this role. I doubt he’s done much that would top Orson Welles!

  2. I agree! Pattinson was unbelievable. I started laughing the first time he talked with that terrible French accent.

    1. What on earth were they thinking with that casting???

  3. I’ve been wondering about this movie, because I like movies showing that time period. I watched the trailer on Netflix but was still unsure whether or not to watch it. Maybe you can answer me something. Who is Hal? I’ve never heard of a King Hal. Is it a nickname for Henry?

    Thanks for the review.

    1. It’s a decent watch. I’m not sure you’d remember it in a month but great for a dreary evening. And yes, in this case Hal is a nickname for Henry.

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