Book Review: The King (2019)


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Sep 25, 2014

Title: The King

Tagline: All hail

Genre: Drama, History, War

Director: David Michôd

Cast: Timothée Chalamet, Joel Edgerton, Sean Harris, Tom Glynn-Carney, Lily-Rose Depp, Thomasin McKenzie, Robert Pattinson, Ben Mendelsohn, Andrew Havill, Dean-Charles Chapman, Steven Elder, Edward Ashley, Stephen Fewell, Tara Fitzgerald, Tom Fisher, Ivan Kaye, Gábor Czap, Tom Lawrence, Josef Davies, Roderick Hill, Niké Kurta, Nicholas Wittman, Philip Rosch, Lucas Hansen, Tom Lacroix, Cedric Cirotteau, Jack Bandeira, Kristóf Widder, Vincent Latorre, Bence Bakti, Bardó Fenyvesi, Henry Dent, Harry Trevaldwyn, Laurent Winkler, Jeremy Chevillotte, Thibault de Montalembert, Oscar Bennett

Release: 2019-10-11

Runtime: 140

Plot: England, 15th century. Hal, a capricious prince who lives among the populace far from court, is forced by circumstances to reluctantly accept the throne and become Henry V.

There are mixed reviews, some complaining it is too slow, that it takes liberty with the history and with Shakespeare's interpretation. There was a plot hole, I felt, but I was riveted, by the characterisation, the dialogue, the cinematography and the score.

The actor playing Hal is only 23, and what a psychological study is this nuanced portrayal.

The aerial shots of the battle scene at Agincourt...insane.
What did you reckon, Steve? The stab to the head coup de grace? Did William have it coming to him? The two who lost their heads, Lords Grey and Cambridge hadn't deserved it, had they? I didn't get why the king didn't squeeze that supposed assassin for everything he had to tell...and what did they do with him afterwards?

But I was mesmerised, all the same.
During the final scene, I saw the stabbing coming a few seconds before it happened and found myself clapping when he did it. Yes I thought he had it coming to him the manipulative ba....d All those dead people because of him. Deceiving the King certainly deserved a death sentence. I too wondered why the assassin wasn't tortured and what the two Lords had done but like you, I was so wrapped up in it all I let such thoughts wash over me.
The battle scenes were great and I enjoyed the comedic personal dual that finished it. It kind of symbolized the advice Falstaff gave that they should fight in the mud where the French knights would be at a disadvantage.
William: Memory fails
Hal: Remedy this failure


And now young Hal has lost both mentors, one true, one false, both with lessons to teach.

Sorry for any spoilers, folks who may read this and object, but we're analysing the story. Craft chat, innit.
The Dauphin - although he was in the right defending against invaders, was a ghastly child-murdering cad and a bounder, and Hal was learning to be ruthless too.
Noblesse oblige. He offered the Dauphin single combat, 'save your men.'
The Dauphin...'save your own men.'

But then the Dauphin thought he would come in for the kill, all nice and fresh,late in the day when he judged Hal was sufficiently exhausted to be an easy kill, and Hal decided, nope, the Dauphin had his chance, and now he didn't deserve noblesse oblige, and the dignity of single combat.
We tried to watch it tonight, but then downloaded the Globe production of Henry IV Part one with Roger Allam instead. I'll try again when we've got Shakespeare out of our system!
I don't know though. Hal is a bit of a psycho.

His total absence of basic animal compassion for his dying father.... (The killing of all the French prisoners)

The worm William might have been lining his own nest, but that's the way things were done in those days, wars waged for prestige and gain, and history isn't clear what other reason Henry actually had.

It was his own idea to condemn those two lords, but we weren't shown, justified by what exactly? Maybe just a show of strength to make a point.
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Question: What spring has sprung for you lately?