“The King” takes the crown on Netflix


Photo via Netflix

Timothee Chalamet dons a crown and chainmail in David Michôd’s “The King.” This adaptation of various Shakesphere plays focuses on a young Prince Hal rather than most renditions that focus on his adulthood. The movie was first released in select theaters in the UK, and was then released to the world on Netflix on Nov. 1. 

While “The King” is mainly a period drama, it is also a coming of age story. In the beginning of the film, you see Chalamet’s character Hal, barely on the brink of adulthood, turn into a monarch capable of leading an army onto a battlefield. Like his other films, Chalamet plays a young man experiencing life, but for the first time he takes on the role of the powerful leading man. Even though I love Chalamet, it was kind of strange to see him play such a stoic character.

I’m used to Chalamet playing secondary characters that are usually angsty teenage heartthrobs. In the beginning of the film, he sticks to his roots and plays a troubled young man who spends his time partying and drinking with a lack of purpose, until his ailing father, Henry VI, played by Ben Mendelsohn, forces him to return home to see his younger brother assume the throne.

After a tragedy occurs to Hal’s younger brother (Dean-Charles Chapman), Hal is pressured to take on the crown and leave his life of partying behind to slowly become King Henry V. While Hal’s character development was too fast paced despite the lengthy duration of the film, the quick switch from an estranged, intoxicated prince to stoic king shows the duality of Chalamet’s acting and it’s refreshing to see him branch out of his normal roles. 

After a series of conflicts, King Henry is thrown into war with the villainous French Dauphin, (Robert Pattinson), who delivers a hilariously melodramatic performance. Pattinson’s role adds a very Shakespherian feel to the movie through his exaggerated expressions and cocky tone, and I wished they incorporated more of the Dauphin early on in the film. Lily-Rose Depp’s performance as French Princess Catherine was stellar – her role completely changed the course of the movie. King Henry was challenged with deciphering who was loyal to him and who would betray him, and the introduction of Princess Catherine made him realize this. The movie was in desperate need of a strong female stage presence, and Depp delivered a powerful performance as the bright and courageous princess. However, it was disappointing that she was only introduced in the last 30 minutes of the film. 

One of the best scenes was the Battle of Agincourt, which felt reminiscent of various “Game of Thrones” scenes. It provided the long-awaited action and fighting that most of the movie failed to deliver. It was filled with suspense and was so fast paced that you felt as anxious as Hal and his army. The scenery was dark and vivid and even though there was a lot of chaotic action going on, you could still focus on Hal’s struggle.  

Despite the long viewing time, the charismatic performances of the cast and the beautiful visuals were worth it. History buffs and lovers of period films won’t be disappointed when they watch Chalamet take the throne in “The King.”