Verdict: Timothée Chalamet’s subdued act makes him stand out in this slow-paced drama.
Timothée Chalamet has been in the limelight ever since he starred in the 2017 coming-of-age romantic drama Call Me By Your Name. His subsequent appearances in Lady Bird and Beautiful Boy did not go unnoticed as he had already raged a storm among moviegoers. He was the young star to watch out for. Timothée Chalamet’s latest work is David Michôd’s period drama titled The King, based on several plays by William Shakespeare. The movie premiered at Venice Film Festival in September and is now available to stream on Netflix.
What’s The King About:
After the death of King Henry IV (Ben Mendelsohn), his emotionally distant and wastrel son Hal (Timothée Chalamet) is crowned as the next king by the name of Henry V. Hal is determined not to be cruel and ruthless as his father, wasting time and lives on war when peace can be obtained. Even on his coronation day, the Dauphin of France (Robert Pattinson) sends him a ball as an insult and Henry chooses to ignore his jibes. But when an assassin is sent to kill him, Hal gathers his troops and sets off to France for war. He is accompanied by his trusted friend and commander John Falstaff (Joel Edgerton), an ex-soldier whose wits trump his skills as a fighter. Even at war, Hal must prove himself to be worthy of the crown to not just his enemies but also his own people.
Timothée Chalamet is not the king you’d expect him to be but creates his own version of what a reclusive heir to the throne of England would be. His performance is subdued to mark the clear differences between him and his aggressive and untrustworthy father. Hal is determined not to follow in his footsteps and makes sure every decision he makes is for the good of his kingdom. As his friend and commander, Joel Edgerton’s Falstaff is both witty and impressive. The actor also serves as the co-writer of the film and all the best dialogues are delivered by his character. Robert Pattinson and Lily-Rose Depp have limited screen time, in which they deliver adequately.
The King serves as a decent watch in the post-Game of Thrones era. While it does not have the same kind of crassness or violence the TV show was known for, it does take us back to an era where every single issue was resolved with a fight unto death. The war sequences are reminiscent of other period dramas of the type and there’s plenty of bloodshed to relish in. The foreboding soundtrack goes well with the theme of the film while being in tune with its slow pace.
What Could’ve Been Better:
For viewers who enjoy fast-paced action dramas, The King can be dreadfully slow. This pace of the film seems redundant as we see no character or situation going through a drastic change during its runtime. Some shots could have been chopped down in the editing room while some could have been completely done away with. While the film saves its biggest seat-clutching moment for the twist at the end, some fans of the genre might see it coming.
In terms of performances, Robert Pattinson can seem a little absurd especially with a put-on French accent that changes abruptly. Lily-Rose Depp and Ben Mendelsohn could have had some additional screen time as the former seemed to have great chemistry with Timothée Chalamet while the latter’s character could’ve been explored deeper especially with regards to his son.
Why You Should Watch:
The King is a great remedy for the Game of Thrones hangover. It brings us a blood-stained story of a forgotten era with the generation’s greatest heartthrob at the center of it all. Watch it for Timothée Chalamet’s regal performance.