Timothée Chalamet and his bowl cut, Robert Pattinson’s ridiculous French accent and more: read our breakdown of David Michôd’s historical epic.
All images courtesy of Netflix.
The internet’s favourite boyfriend, Timotheé Chalamet, is taking a break from acting, after a near-constant run of critically acclaimed performances have confirmed his impressive talent and encouraged comparisons to past heartthrobs such as James Dean. Along with several upcoming projects next year, most of which feature Chalamet in lead roles, this year also promised two more roles which would secure his position as surely one of the most versatile and popular actors of the decade: Greta Gerwig’s star-studded adaptation of Little Women, and David Michôd’s historical drama The King.
Since the dramatic trailer dropped, the hype for The King has been real – primarily due to the fact that Chalabae’s young King Henry (also known as Hal) takes the lead and appears in basically every scene of the 2 hour 20 minute film. Cue brutal battles, vein-popping bouts of anger, long shots of Hal’s brooding expressions, and Robert Pattinson’s ridiculous French accent.
Read our breakdown of Michôd’s film below…
WHAT: As the floppy-haired, carefree son of a 15th-Century king, Chalamet’s Hal is well-loved by his loyal clan of friends and spends most of his days getting drunk and… well, that’s about it. Returning the mutual feeling of disdain for his son, Hal’s dying father decides to crown his youngest son Thomas (played by Game of Thrones’ Dean-Charles Chapman) as his heir, but after he dies in battle, Hal inherits the throne. Now sporting a bowl cut, the new King is determined to avoid conflict and war, but after mounting pressure from his advisors to prove himself as a noble leader, he becomes increasingly violent, brutal and impulsive.
WHERE: The King is based on several Shakespearean plays, most notably Henriad, and of course the real-life King Henry. Most of the film takes place within either the dark, gloomy world of Hal’s royal quarters, or the even gloomier, mud-filled battlefields of France after the English army declares war. So it’s fair to say that the plot development (while slow) comes less from an exciting variety of locations and more from the character arc of Hal. Initially a drunken, promiscuous and emotionally distant prince with no interest in following in the footsteps of his estranged father, by the end of the film, the lanky, awkward gait we know Chalamet for has diminished: chest puffed, head held high.
STAR OF THE SHOW: There’s definitely an array of interesting and complex characters here, including co-writer Joel Edgerton’s Falstaff, Hal’s closest friend. But with Timmy in the lead role and Robert Pattinson playing his taunting enemy, The Dauphin of France, the rest of the cast didn’t really stand a chance. While Pattinson’s unhinged performance provides pretty much all of the film’s comic relief, its Chalamet’s portrayal of the once-empathetic leader slowly descending into power-crazy narcissism that – no surprise here – basically makes the film worth watching.
WHO TO WATCH IT WITH: Someone who shares your love of Timmy and R-Patz – which shouldn’t be hard, considering that’s basically the entire intended target audience for the film. It also might be worth watching it with someone who has an understanding of the historical accuracy, so they can explain what’s going on when you can’t quite decipher some of the low, mumbling dialogue (or when the drawn-out plot has caused your mind to wander elsewhere).
STANDOUT SCENE: The most memorable scenes feature Chalamet doing what he does best: portraying a varied range of emotions over the course of one short scene. And in a film filled with intense battles and betrayals of trust, there are ample opportunities for the boy wonder to flex his acting muscles. One particular scene, in which the camera hones in on his expression as he reckons with some devastating news, harks back to that closing scene of Chalabae’s breakout role as Elio in Call Me By Your Name (although Hal’s more steely expression means that this scene probably won’t have you in as many tears). However, truly, nothing could compare to the first time we heard that French accent from Pattinson – especially when he’s using it to speculate on the size of Hal’s anatomy.
WATCH IF: You love any of these three: Game of Thrones, Timotheé Chalamet, and Robert Pattinson. If you love all three, even better.
DON’T WATCH IF: If you’re not bothered about Game of Thrones, Timothée Chalamet and Robert Pattinson. Without the fervent obsession with Chalabae that most of the internet harbours, you might find it difficult to stay interested in the plot for the – very long – runtime. Even so, it’s an impressive feat of cinematic achievement which allows Timmy to add another genre to his roster, while also allowing Pattinson to continue with his surprising and flamboyant character choices. We only wish that the latter had been given more screen time, and the former had been given a little more to do.
WONDERLAND REVIEW: 2/5 (with a 5/5 for Timmy)