Netflix’s “The King” debuted on Nov. 1. The movie is loosely based on both a series of plays by William Shakespeare (the “Henriad”) and the life of England’s young King Henry V in the early 1400s.
Timothée Chalamet stars as the titular king. The promotional materials made it seem like Lily-Rose Depp and Robert Pattinson also star. In reality, Depp and Pattinson appear in the movie for about a collective five minutes. The rest of the 2 hour, 20 minute runtime mostly involves Chalamet engaged in confusing conversations while wearing “king” clothes in dark, candle-lit rooms. I know this because, along with my colleague Bill Bradley, I watched the entirety of this mediocre movie. We have some thoughts.
Read on for our brief conversation. You can also watch the trailer, which showcases pretty much the entirety of Pattinson’s and Depp’s performances.
Todd: The movie starts slow and never picks up speed. Watching this kind of made me wish Netflix would offer that controversial playback option to speed up movies. The first few minutes feature an unimportant character at the end of a battle. This character (and a man who might be his father — it’s unclear) are introduced as allies to England but then are confusingly England’s warring enemy in a following scene. The first shot of Timothée is of his character seemingly hungover on a bed. Then a few minutes later, the movie uses slow motion to capture him laughing in a bar. Cool use of time. We finally get action many, many minutes in when Timothée has a sword battle, but he wears a helmet, so I’m pretty sure it’s not even him doing those sword moves. (Which is similar to Robert Pattinson’s appearance later in the movie.)
Bill: Todd, the slo-mo laughing in the bar was actually my favorite scene. It felt a bit like when I mess around in iMovie just to see what the effects do on my computer, but then, “Oops, I accidentally left it in the final video. Oh well.” But as far as first impressions, I’m going to guess writer/actor Joel Edgerton and writer/director David Michôd are fans of “Game of Thrones.” From Timothée Chalamet doing his best Jon Snow in challenging anyone who will listen to one-on-one combat, to scenes of Edgerton that look directly out of the episode “Battle of the Bastards,” “The King” very much looks like a “GoT” fan tribute ― just with fewer dragons and more bowl cuts.
Bill: There are so many good lines that could’ve been in “The King” that must’ve been sacrificed on the cutting room floor. For instance, I imagine in some deleted scene, Timothée Chalamet probably asks, “What do you think about my baller bowl cut?” “Do you think this is a baller bowl cut?” “How baller is my bowl cut?” Just a lot of haircut commentary was probably lost in the edit.
As far as lines that made it into the movie, there’s an early scene where Chalamet challenges (the character) Hotspur to one-on-one combat, as per usual, and Hotspur goes, “Come for me, big dog!” It’s like they have some backstory here where Hotspur used to call Chalamet “Big Dog” for some reason. Sadly, we’ll never know why. R.I.P. to that storyline, Big Dog.
Todd: The big dog line also stuck out to me. I think it’s extremely important to note that before he says, “Come for me, big dog!” he also shouts, “Where be the big dog?!” Speaking of the cutting room floor, I’d watch an extended cut of this Hotspur character just referring to Timothée as the big dog.
Todd: It seems like you mostly want to talk about the haircuts, so let’s just talk about the haircuts. This is the haircut time.
Bill: Haha, this is the main question of “The King.” Todd, are you a fan of Robert Pattinson’s long French locks or the King’s bowl cut (long may it reign)?
Todd: I mean, I’m a fan of both. I wish Pattinson’s long locks were in the movie longer though. I didn’t clock it, but I feel like he’s in this movie for less than two minutes total. Maybe there’s cutting room floor footage of these two getting haircuts that should have been left in the movie.
Bill: The king’s hair was my favorite. That’s all I want to say. Everything the light touches is its kingdom.
Note That Must Be Shared
Todd: Speaking of Pattinson, though, I feel it necessary to talk about how he used his two fists and thumb to illustrate that he thought Timothée’s character had big balls and a “tiny cock.” I’d never seen that move before. Is that a thing?
Bill: In “Game of Thrones,” there’s a lot of penis and testicle talk, so it makes sense this was included. However, Pattinson miming it out I think was a real service to the audience, just in case people didn’t understand, “Oh, he means penis.”
Todd: Was there anything you noted that you feel compelled to share?
Bill: There’s a point in the movie where Chalamet stops the archbishop and says he’s finding his story impossible to follow. This felt very meta for the whole movie because I was like, “Samesies.”
Todd: Yesss, I thought the same thing. He kind of does that a few times in the movie like “I’m not following your story, sir!”-type dialogue. But then, after King Timothée gets mad at these confusing people, he tends to also kill them (much like my brain was killed after watching this for 2 hours, 20 minutes). So meta.
So, Would You Recommend It?
Bill: I think it depends on the audience. If it’s people who are looking for a feel-good romp with nonstop laughs and excitement, I’d say this might not be the movie for you. If it’s a kid who wants to feel better about his bowl cut, check it out.
Todd: Ultimately this is a movie about a bowl-cut-having young man becoming King of England despite the bowl cut, despite “England” existing on about one film set and despite this bowl-cut-young-king’s propensity to kill not-that-guilty-seeming people with nonexistent fighting skill. It doesn’t help that whenever this bowl cut king punches or stabs someone, the same comically fake-sounding metal-clanking/squish sound occurs. The bowl king overcomes a lot. The bowl king becomes quite the big dog. But I’d rather just hang out with a real dog than watch this. In conclusion: “The King” = not as good as hanging out with a dog.
This conversation has been slightly edited for clarity, but the loose grammar of an online conversation has been maintained for authenticity.
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