The film that spawned a meltdown amongst the Timothée Chalamet because of his bowl cut finally come out on Netflix. I was intrigued and decided to see what this film was about. While it is available on Netflix, I thought I should give it a fair chance and see it on the big screen at Tiff Bell Lightbox.
David Michod is the director and writer of the film. Timothée Chalamet plays the lead role as King Henry V at the start of his reign. Joel Edgerton played his trusty right-hand man, Falstaff, who has an equally interesting bowl cut. There’s also Robert Pattison as The Dauphin, Sean Harris as William Gascoigne, Ben Mendelson as King Henry IV, and Lily-Rose Depp as Catherine.
The historical drama is based on the plays from William Shakespeare’s Henriad. The film follows King Henry V as he goes from being Prince of Wales to become the King of England after his father’s death. However, Prince Henry, known as Hal by his friends, was never interested in being King and disagreed with his father’s war policies. He hopes for a peaceful reign, but soon enough we find out some see this as a weakness. A war with France ensues after an assassin is sent to kill King Henry V, which leads to the famous Battle of Agincourt. The rest is history, well a mix of real history and fictionalized encounters.
The performances by Timothée Chalamet and Joel Edgerton is probably the strongest part of the film. Timothee portrayed well the young and naïve boy that is headstrong but doesn’t know how to utilize it to be a confidant king. His performance carries the first half while Joel Edgerton carries the second half. He’s rather charming and troubled at the same time as he provides support for Timothée’s King Henry V.
While those performances were good, there wasn’t much else that I liked about the film. The biggest issue was that it didn’t really bring anything new to the story at all. It briefly touches upon personal agendas that shape political history, but only touches upon it so little, it barely scratches the surface. Despite Timothée Chalamet’s strong performance, he had to work with what he had, and that was a character that stopped developing in the second half where Falstaff picked up the work. There’s barely any exploration on the relationship of his young age and the qualities of a leader. He changes his stance on war and peace pretty quickly and just decides on full war and “off with their heads!”
Another issue was that while the comic relief bits were a breath of fresh air, some seemed unintentional. From Robert Pattinson’s ridiculous caricature of a French prince and a French accent to the fight scenes where Timothée Chalamet just rolled around in the mud with men. Not really sure if it’s entirely historically accurate, but it did seem really out of place and ridiculous.
The King is not the worst movie to ever exist, and it can be enjoyable in some moments (thank R Patz for that excellent comedic performance). Still, I do suggest you see this at home on Netflix in the comfort of your own homes and not at a local movie theatre near you.