Niels De Vita’s review published on Letterboxd:
If you’re looking for a poetic rendition of Shakespeare’s Henry V, look elsewhere.
If your expectations aren’t so grand, The King is a perfectly adept film about a young man whose reluctancy to be the leader of his empire made him uniquely and ironically qualified for the position.
The performances, especially that of Timothee Chalamet in the lead role showing, yet again, his precocious talent. The small role played by Robert Pattison is also especially satisfying.
The cinematography, with its very English dreary skies and monotone medieval cities and outfits. Brighter colors in The King are used sporadically, and only in figures of power. The deep red of the King as he is sworn in, or the dirty blonde of Pattison’s long locks are impactful because they’re set against a lifeless gray backdrop.
The plot does what it sets out to do. Its scale is grand but the story unfolds efficiently, moving forward without steering away from course toward the moment that made the legend of King Henry V in the fields of France.
What doesn’t work: The first act was particularly uninteresting. The transition from young rich drunk, to that of the most powerful man in Britain seemed rushed.
Though Chalamet devours every moment he appears on screen, his slender physique is the antithesis of what I imagine a warrior King to be like.
The one-track mindedness of the script was handled well, but I still wish there had been a more concerted effort to dig deeper and explore the psyche of the reluctant ruler as he met the moral quandaries of his leadership.