Movie Review: “The King” (2019)

Movie Review:

Hana Zhang, Contributor

“A king has no friends. Only followers and foe.”

The King is a Netflix movie (aired November 1st) that is loosely based on “Henriad” by William Shakespeare and the actual life of King Henry V in the early 1400s. It is a historical drama, with aspects of comedy and romance. The movie is directed by David Michôd, with outstanding cinematography done by Adam Arkapaw, and has great actors such as Lily-Rose Depp, Joel Edgerton and Robbert Pattinson. It stars Timothée Chalamet as the once incompetent prince, turned fierce-king, named Hal. Timothée Chalamet is an American actor who is 23 years old, and has been deemed Best Male Lead from the Independent Spirit Award for his work in Call Me By Your Name.  He was also nominated for an Oscar as Best Actor. Fun fact: Timothée’s middle name is actually Hal!

The movie follows Hal, who is the oldest son of King Henry IV, making him the Prince of Wales. The start of the movie depicts Hal as a partier, who drinks and is carefree. He is also tall and thin, which is shown by Michôd using Chalamet’s physique as he was often shirtless, showing his thin body. This makes a point to show that Hal was not fit to become king. Hal abandoned royal life and chose to live among the people. King Henry IV decided to make Hal’s younger brother, Thomas, heir to the throne. However, Thomas dies on the battlefield, which makes Hal King Henry V. He becomes forced to embrace the life he desperately tried to escape. An important aspect of the movie is that Hal believes war is pointless while his father, King Henry IV (as played by Ben Mendelsohn) is addicted to war. He inherited the crown he never wanted, and he was forced to deal with the responsibilities that came with it. One responsibility included pushing him into battles and wars that went against everything he stood for. I won’t spoil the actual events of the movie, but one aspect that was done nicely as the movie goes on is that Hal becomes noticeably stronger, therefore having a fitter physique. This is significant because it symbolises that Hal has proved himself fit to be king. The King’s ending to me, suggests a possible movie following, or maybe a series.

Timothée Chalamet as Prince Hal

The King recognizes the idea that royalty is all an act. Beneath the jeweled crown and magnificent robe is a regular person. Hal was forced into becoming king, and although he had to put on a facade of being strong and unwavering, on the inside, he was confused and needed guidance. When I first heard that Timothée Chalamet was cast in this movie, I was shocked. This movie is far different from anything he has ever done before. He previously starred in Call Me By Your Name (2017), Lady Bird (2017), and Beautiful Boy (2018). This movie stands out from any classic historical/medieval movie, in which it does not focus solely on the battles of the set time period, but instead places emphasis on the development of characters.