Hal (Timothee Chalamet) receives word of his father’s, the current King of England, illness. Right now, Hal is leading a quiet life as he has turned his back on his family. Hal soon finds himself in a challenging position and feels forced to accept the life he once tried to ignore. After his father dies, Hal becomes King Henry V. He must now take over from where his father left off or perhaps, Hal might even take a different path altogether, especially regarding war and delicate topics such as politics. Thankfully Hal won’t be alone. Hal invites one of his closest, most trusted friends from his hometown, John Falstaff (played by Joel Edgerton). In the past, John was once a knight, but in the present day, he spends most of his time sleeping and drinking beer.
For the history and Shakespeare buffs out there, I can warn you to keep an open mind while watching the film. This film does take a different path at multiple times compared to what the history books may tell you.
The introduction to “The King” is a slow burn. We gain a basic understanding of Hal and his life, but the story goes back and forth as he talks with his father and mopes around in his current life. Needless to say, once Hal is crowned King Henry V, I found myself rather curious and wishing to progress further into this film.
Visually, The King is a great looking film. Cinema buffs who own the latest high-resolution TVs will be impressed with the film. The image quality for Landscapes and Costume designs should also be praised here.
As for performances, “The King” is generally loaded with positive experiences. Actor Tim Chalamet as the lead role was generally acceptable, but I felt he got better as the film progressed (and no, I’m not just talking about his character). Robert Patterson, I would say, for the most part, was also fine. Solid praise should go out to Joel Edgerton who manages to deliver a fun and heartfelt performance and was easily one of the best elements of this film.
As a plot, apart from the slow start (20-30mins in), I generally found myself enjoying the film more as it progressed. Naturally, the film builds up to a bloodbath finale.
Overall, The King has more strengths than weaknesses. Praise goes out to the supporting cast such as Joel Edgerton. As a plot, it’s a slow beginning but worthwhile if you can push through it. The film’s visuals are also enjoyable and sound considering this is now a Netflix exclusive in Australia.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden