Netflix has done it again and proves they are a studio not to be messed with. The streaming service has made a stellar grand production of director David Michôd’s “The King”. A terrifically thrilling, historical drama done on a grand scale. While it cries out to be seen on the big screen, it is one of the best examples of the genre. Led by an Oscar worthy performance by Timothée Chalamet, one of this generations greatest actors. Everything about “The King” is brilliant and just puts Netflix another step ahead of ruling 2019 with another contender for one of the years best films.
I’ve said this before, especially as of recently but Netflix makes great movies. The streaming company has been putting out such great quality products that it can rival anything a major studio would release. It’s also been pointed out more than a few times that Netflix makes the kinds of movies mainstream studios have all but abandoned.
There was a time when a film like “The King” would have been a theatrical event and leading the Oscar race. If released now in theaters it would be seen as risky, or even hardly seen at all. Let’s thank the movie gods that Netflix has made a stellar grand production of director David Michôd’s “The King”. Michôd who is best known for the tv series “Animal Kingdom”, directs and serves as co-screenwriter with actor Joel Edgerton as they loosely base “The King” on several Shakespeare plays.
“The King” is a terrifically thrilling, character-driven historical drama done on a grand scale. “The King” cries out to be seen on the big screen and one of the best examples of the genre since anything that the master of historical epics, Ridley Scott (“Gladiator”, “Kingdom Of Heaven”, “Exodus” and “1492: Conquest Of Paradise”) has directed.
“The King” revolves around Hal (Timothée Chalamet), wayward prince and reluctant heir to the English throne, who has turned his back on royal life and is living among the people. But when his tyrannical father dies, Hal is crowned King Henry V and is forced to embrace the life he had previously tried to escape. Now the young king must navigate the palace politics, chaos and war his father left behind, and the emotional strings of his past life, including his relationship with his closest friend and mentor, the ageing alcoholic knight, John Falstaff (Joel Edgerton).
Timothée Chalamet is cast against type in his first heroic lead role. Up until now he’s been casted as a sullen, moody teen (a role he can play to perfection), but “The King” is his first heroic adult role and he nails it. Chalamet is the best actor of this generation. When Chalamet gives his rousing speech on the battlefield, Chalamet delivers each word with intensity and his performance is Oscar worthy.
Combining several Shakespeare plays into one grand cinematic opus, Joel Edgerton and David Michôd’s script perfects the arc of young Henry’s life. From his carefree adolescence to his peak as a noble warrior king who is always ready to fight for his country. Chalamet delivers the transformation convincingly in his best performance yet. He may not have won an Oscar yet but I assure you he will.
Starring alongside Chalamet is actor, screenwriter and director Joel Edgerton. He has a great supporting part as the initially comical Falstaff, who turns out to be a seasoned military vet and tactician and the only one Hal can rely on for council. Edgerton seems to be really enjoying himself and has written himself a great part.
Other than Chalamet delivering a phenomenal performance. The real scenery-chewing comes, appropriately, from a scene stealing Robert Pattinson as the movie’s big villain. The sniveling, evil Dauphin who is the prince of France. Pattinson doesn’t shy away from delivering us a truly detestable baddie, and Pattinson’s attempt at a French accent is the best thing I’ve heard in a long time. Pattinson is superb.
Michôd has made a gorgeous film, that is very much influenced by Ridley Scott. Michôd’s “The King” is so special and stands out from other historical dramas, because Michôd is a smart writer and filmmaker who gives us a unique insight into the historical warfare. He emphasizes how unwieldy armor and swords of the era were, and how difficult it could be fighting on muddy terrain.
Michôd choreographs bruising, claustrophobic fight scenes that really understands the ugly spectacle of war especially the often ignored difficulties of fighting in armor. While the action is limited to the third act, the big battle of Agincourt is a rousingly choreographed bit of mayhem and brutality.
“The King” is an ambitious adaptation. Everything about “The King” works brilliantly from the cinematic scope, to the Oscar worthy acting to the crackling script from Edgerton and Michôd. I love this film and Netflix continues to rule 2019 with another stellar production and one of the years best films.
GRADE: ★★★★1/2☆ (4 & 1/2 out of 5)