The King ★★★

I've come to realize that for me, expectations can make or break a movie. Going into this, I was expecting to see a semi-faithful if modernized and reworked adaptation of one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, starring one of my favorite actors. The King isn't that! This isn't a movie about Henry V, it isn't really a movie about England, and it certainly isn't Shakespeare. All of my favorite parts of Henry V (the speeches, the supporting characters, the language) are, for the most part, nonexistent. Shakespeare's Henry is a Rorschach test: you see in him what you wish to see. His motivations are unclear, and much of the discussion I've had about the play surrounds his justifications (or lack thereof) of war. In The King, Henry's descent into morbid self-seriousness is given little context and even less chance to grow.

Timmy's acting is, of course, impeccable, and the few scenes where he gets the chance to show the unbridled boyish bravado of his Henry are my favorite. My other favorite scenes were Robert Pattinson's, the only actor who seems to make a real attempt to inject life back into what was for me a largely soulless endeavor (Shakespeare was for the commoners, guys, there's no need to make this as boring as humanly possible!) If you go into this film expecting a beautifully shot, well-acted war film I think you will be satisfied! I, however, spent most of the runtime thinking about the film I wish I was watching, and, disappointingly, The King wasn't it.

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