Well cast and with strong source material THE KING is undoubtedly one of the best Netflix productions, yet the overall pacing sometimes is too slow for the ambitious battles and explosive plot resolutions.
“THE KING” is undoubtedly one the best Netflix film productions. Which, you might say is not a very huge thing to achieve. Nevertheless, this is a very interesting film based on historical Henry V and play Shakespeare wrote.
What I enjoyed the most was casting and acting. Literally the whole cast has been stellar. Timothee Chalamet, usually reserved for moppy emo stereotypes is finally given a chance to shine. He does that perfectly, bringing boyishness and naivete and, at the same time, solemnity and determination that the role of Henry V required. Joel Edgerton, who has also been always cast as boorish macho is surprisingly cast in a mentor/friend/confidant role and, man, I was surprised how this role befits him. From the supporting cast Sean Harris delivered near perfect performance as Henry’s advisor, and Robert Pattinson (just like in THE LIGHTHOUSE) managed to surprise me with his take on French Dauphin.
I also would like to mention the stylistic approach with casting. We are used to kings looking like kings – grown up, macho, muscular and noble. Chalamet’s Henry V is none, which, if you actually think about, is exactly how it was in real life. By taking this realistic approach THE KING looks more authentic than any other historical dramas.
Writing is also commendable, as screenwriters are armed with history textbooks as source material and Shakespeare as a cheat sheet. You should be really bad to screw this up.
What disappointed me was the pacing. I understand the choice of slow exposition and plot progression to show the inner struggles and insecurities of Henry, but sometimes director David Michod sets the pace down to a crawl. And it is a shame because there are a lot of energetic scenes, filmed and edited beautifully. There is one scene very much resembling BATTLE OF BASTARDS from GAME OF THRONES, this is how great it was filmed. And, yet, the slow moments are so slow that you will be checking your watch.