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Review: The King (15)

Written by Film

Timothée Chalamet stars as Prince Hal turned reluctant King Henry V in Netflix’s latest original film, The King. Directed by David Michod and co-produced by Brad Pitt, the historical drama is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘Henriad’ plays including both parts of Henry IV and Henry V. The film co-stars Joel Edgerton as Henry’s loyal companion John Falstaff, Robert Pattinson as the ruthless Dauphin of France and Lily-Rose Depp as Henry’s bride Catherine of Valois.

As King Henry IV of England (Ben Mendelsohn) becomes weaker, he calls upon his estranged son Prince Hal to inform him that the crown will be passed onto his younger brother Thomas (Dean Charles Chapman). Because of the disagreements with his father’s war politics and tyranny over England, Hal continues to pass the time carelessly away from court.

When Thomas dies in battle after their father’s death, Hal is forced to become King Henry V and deal with his father’s mistakes by partaking in a war he did not want to be part of. Following his coronation, Hal must cement his title and maintain control over the kingdom as he faces threats from France. Sporting a convincing English accent, Chalamet’s performance as the wayward prince turned king is one of the highlights of the film, as he captures the intensity of a young man who is suddenly forced into a role of power with advisors he struggles to trust. Despite high-quality battle sequences and leading performance, the film’s promotion can seem misleading upon watching the film.

Overall, The King delivers for fans of historical dramas and battle sequences

Actors deemed as having key roles in the film, notably Pattinson’s Dauphin of France as the main villain and Depp’s Catherine of Volais, appear albeit sparingly. Over the course of the 2 hours 20-minute run-time, most of the film sees Chalamet preparing for battle with France and talking about his enemies without seeing them. Despite their small screen-time, Pattinson and Depp deliver memorable performances, taking on difficult French accents and challenging Chalamet’s King Henry in different forms. Overall, The King delivers for fans of historical dramas and battle sequences but can, at times, feel slow and wastes actors who deliver powerful performances in their limited screen-time.

Rating: 3/5

Last modified: 7th November 2019

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