Title: The King (original: The King)
Genre: dramatic, historical, biographical
Duration: 133 minutes
Directed by: David Michôd
Screenplay: David Michôd, Joel Edgerton
Main cast: Timothée Chalamet, Joel Edgerton, Robert Pattinson, Ben Mendelsohn, Sean Harris, Lily-Rose Depp, Dean-Charles Chapman.
The king, the original Netflix film, is available on the streaming platform since yesterday, after being previewed last September 2nd at the Venice Film Festival.
The cast revolves around the figure of the young and rising star Timothée Chalamet (whom you will surely remember for impersonating Elio in Call me with your name).
At his side, Joel Edgerton, Ben Mendelsohn, Sean Harris – now at ease in TV series or historical films (The Borgias, Outlaw King), Lily-Rose Depp and a distorted and misplaced Robert Pattinson, who was given a French accent and a blonde wig that does not do it justice.
THE KING OF NETFLIX: THEREFORE THE LIFE OF ENRICO V TOLD WITHOUT SHAKESPEARE
It was not a simple challenge to overcome that of David Michôd and Joel Edgerton, screenwriters of the film (as well as respectively director and actor). Reconstructing in a modern way the life and work of one of England’s most celebrated kings, Henry V, having behind him the illustrious precedents not only of William Shakespeare but also of Laurence Olivier and Kenneth Branagh (not forgetting the BBC The miniseries Hollow Crown).
The debt to Shakespeare is obvious, the material was freely drawn from the historical bard drama using it with the intention of recreating a new and different story from what was seen and read in the past.
It is not to be missed by those who have badly digested the exclusion, therefore, of one of the most remembered monologues of Henry V, that of the day of St. Crispin (‘We few, we happy few …’) or if they have been operated differently historical tampering.
The intent, however always commendable, is to focus on different aspects of a story that for some (but not all) is old stuff.
On the other hand we live at different times. A classic is defined as such also for the continuous revisitations and modifications it undergoes.
If in Elizabethan England honor and power were dear themes, it would be anachronistic to make a film today with a monarch who for two hours does nothing but abuse his absolute power with stylistically perfect words.
The young Hal of Timothée Chalamet, on the other hand, is characterized first as a drunkard dedicated to undemanding pastimes but later enters a training course where the family and the burden of power are the central themes of its development.
In fact, Hal always maintains a well-defined core of identity even though it is constantly evolving. At the beginning of the film. he is banned from his family. He does not share either his father’s policy (which he defers) or his brother’s court life (which he loves anyway). It is at the moment when death takes away the king who starts the transformation into Henry.
The young man understands what it means and above all how difficult it is to bear the weight of the crown, especially at his age and moreover in extreme solitude.
He understands that being his father’s son, however, repudiated, means having to take on decisions that no human being would ever want to make.
THE RECONSTRUCTION OF THE BATTLE OF AZINCOURT
Visually, it was said, it is a very powerful film supported by a tormented and introspective soundtrack.
The staging of what is perhaps the most famous battle of the Hundred Years’ War is practically perfect. The scene where Falstaff is choking between the bodies of the fighters is the only revival from above. The rest of the battle is resumed from the point of view of the foot soldiers submerged in the mud, which at times seems to even come out of the screen to wrap us up.
It could easily be said that everything has a big debt to the Battle of the Bastards of Game of Thrones. Almost the limit of the tribute-homage, but it must be said that the whole world of George Martin refers to a medieval historical period which is precisely that of the Hundred Years War.
Certainly, historical films are still possible today thanks to the popularity of a show like Game of Thrones, but I don’t think we have reached the point of having to concede that everything that is medieval must necessarily lead us back to GoT. On the other hand, Outlaw King had already shown it.