- The King
- Directed by David Michod
- Written by David Michod and Joel Edgerton
- Starring Timothée Chalamet, Joel Edgerton and Robert Pattinson
- Classification R; 133 minutes
After facing muddy defeat with last year’s Outlaw King, you would think that Netflix might readjust their feature-film strategy to steer clear of bloated historical epics. But now here comes The King galloping along, perhaps buoyed by the streaming giant’s enthusiasm for all things “content,” or maybe because by the time Outlaw King failed to get #RobertTheBruce trending, it was too late to turn the heaving tanker that is The King around. Either way, I don’t expect David Michod’s new film to dominate your Netflix home queue for very long, given that the movie – a messy and frequently bloody blend of Shakespeare’s Henriad plays, but devoid of their language, scope and, well, drama – is forgettable.
Well, one element does stand out: Robert Pattinson’s the Dauphin, who tempts Timothée Chalamet’s King Henry V into war in 15th-century France. Made up to be as pale as a Twilight vampire and fitted with a greasy Sebastian Bach-esque wig, Pattinson leans into his villain’s bloodthirsty gall with glee. The rest of the cast, however, is stuck with deathly serious dialogue and little emotional shading, as the script by Michod and Joel Edgerton (who also co-stars as Falstaff) tries to both embrace and escape the Bard’s shadow.
Long live the king – and by that, I mean His Royal Highness Netflix and his throne’s bottomless resources. This King, however, can simply rest in peace.
The King opens Oct. 16 at the TIFF Lightbox in Toronto, Oct. 25 in Montreal, Nov. 1 in Vancouver and Nov. 1 on Netflix.