THE KING – The Best of Netflix for 2019

I saw THE KING on Netflix last month but have a few hours free so here’s its late review. Originally I watched THE KING for one reason alone, I just love anything Timothée Chalamet. I tried desperately to get tickets to the Sydney premiere where he attended but no reply from Netflix whatsoever, so sadly, I missed hanging with fantasy boyfriend #12. Now some might disagree with my title thinking a certain Scorsese film deserves the title but, preparing self to be shot down here, I am just not that into Scorsese and haven’t seen THE IRISHMAN.

Anyways, THE KING is out on Netflix, it is rated M and runs for an impressive 140mins. And the good thing……… it’s brilliant.

The King Timothée Chalamet image
Timothée Chalamet

BY JASON KING

THE KING SYNOPSIS:

Hal (Timothée Chalamet), wayward prince and reluctant heir to the English throne, has turned his back on royal life and is living among the people drowning in a life of alcohol and debauchery. 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 aging alcoholic knight, John Falstaff (Joel Edgerton).

The King Movie image
Heart Wrenching Scene

HISTORICAL INACCURACIES:

The slight downside of the film is that it is only half historically accurate. It is mostly based on Shakespeare’s plays Henry IV, Part I and Part II, and Henry V.

Some of the larger inaccuracies involve Joel Edgerton’s character not even existing in reality. Shakespeare added Falstaff as comedy relief for the theatre. In ‘Henry IV Part II’, however, Hal rejects Falstaff during his coronation and bans him from seeing him. In reality Falstaff has been been described as possibly being based on Henry’s old friend, Sir John Oldcastle. Oldcastle was not banned in real life, he was sentenced to death for heresy by Henry V and was burned at the stake. But the writers rewrote history, as Shakespeare himself did to entertain better.

History also claims Henry was never so begrudgingly against taking French land and he wanted it, again even going to war after the famed Battle of Agincourt which is accurately portrayed in the movie. I did love the re-telling of making Henry so innocent. His rise from drunkard who doesn’t give a shit about the kingdom to being the most loved King was superb, I also prefer my Timothée lovable haha. But the plot twist, creating his own bond with his French wife, and his complete betrayal and manipulation was brilliant. The best thing about everything that happens to Henry, in the movie anyways, he is so smart and observant he learns from it all and becomes better and better.

THAT HAIR DO:

However, the bowl haircut Chalamet wears….. completely accurate. The short cropped bowl with shaved sides was popular amongst men paying homage to monks and priests, and Henry V was one of the first English kings to sport the look. There is only one surviving portrait of Henry V – and he has the doo.

The King Robert Pattinson image
Robert Pattinson

CLEVER CLEVER DAVID MICHÔD:

I just loved this movie, theatrically it is so cinematic it demanded a cinema screen to see how stunning it is. Sadly I caught it on Netflix but i’m also stoked I have a giant screen haha. The film is toned and lit perfectly bringing on a truly dark and dingy atmosphere. Everything is wet and dirty and you get a real sense of the era as imagined by the filmmakers.

Action wise it is incredibly well paced and almost at BRAVEHEART level in the war scenes. In the Battle of Agincourt there is a scene worthy of rivalling The Battle of the Bastards from Game of Thrones. It took two weeks to film, with 300 men and 80 horses, in a field in Hungary. It is definitely a highlight of the movie.

David Michôd wrote the story for THE KING with Joel Edgerton, and they achieved greatness. If the movie had received a cinema release and the attention it deserved it would be more widely known. As it is I hope it gets some Oscar nominations soon.

The King Joel Edgerton image
Joel Edgerton

TIMOTHÉE GOES FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH:

Timothée is my current it-boy – he is on fire and has done no wrong. Everyone wants to work with him and he keeps choosing great films that don’t make him a pin-up but expand his talent. His performance in THE KING is understated and intelligent. There is a lot of acting through his eyes and his heart. Give this guy any role and he will carry the film. I CANNOT WAIT to see him in DUNE in 2020. And then the sequel to Peach Fucker, I mean, one of my all time favourite movies, CALL ME BY YOUR NAME.

Edgerton is brilliant as Falstaff, but like Chalamet, he is brilliant in everything he does. Falstaff is like a Little John character, a guy who has done his part and all he wants to do now is drink. But he is also a revered military leader of the past and once he overcomes his drinking issues is the greatest strength in Hal’s quiver.

Robert Pattinson almost steals the show. Michôd wanted someone who would play The Dauphin so over the top, and after working with Pattinson before on THE ROVER knew he was the right guy. It is quite ironic that Pattinson is English and is playing a guy with the strongest French accent, and Chalamet is a French actor who is playing an English King. Every scene Pattinson is in was one of my favourite scenes in the movie, he truly is one of the most underrated actors of his generation.

Ben Mendelsohn is marvellous but we don’t get enough time with him. Sean Harris is superb as William, and I am stoked to be seeing Dean-Charles Chapman popping up in more films. Just saw him in 1917 and it is wonderful to see his post Game of Thrones career thriving.

The King Timothée Chalamet image
Timothée Chalamet

LONG LIVE THE KING CHALAMET:

I assume you have Netflix, if you haven’t seen THE KING yet, you need to amend this gross negligence immediately. Do not see it for a documentary on the history of Henry V, see it for Chalamet and RPatz, who both give next level performances. Also it isn’t historically accurate (never claims to be), it is based on Shakespeare’s stories, who himself altered facts for entertainment. I don’t seen Shakespeare being judged negatively for it so do not think Michôd should be either. The film is a winner!

SALTY’S POP SCORE:

YOUR CRITIC:

Jason King owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. A movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict he is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the Australian movie industry for 26yrs. 

He believes all it takes to make a good movie is a bloody good story, with a little luck the rest should fall in line. He is getting a little sick of saying “story story story” in his reviews with so much shite releasing in the last decade. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.