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Michael Emerson: biography, personal life
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Review of the film “King” from Netflix

King (2019)
The king
biographical, drama, historical
Director: David Michaud
Cast: Timothy Chalamet, Robert Pattinson, Ben Mendelssohn, Joel Edgerton, Dean-Charles Chapman
The beginning of the 15th century, the Centennial War between England and France is in full swing. The Prince of Wales Hel (Timothy Chalamet with a “haircut” haircut) is far from politics and does not even stare at the place of his father, King Henry IV (Ben Mendelssohn). He spends his free time in taverns, unconscious, drinking with his friend, Sir Falstaff (Joel Edgerton). However, after the death of the younger brother, who was supposed to leave the crown, and the father, the prince reluctantly takes over the reins. He takes the name Henry V and sets off across the English Channel to conquer France and destroy the Dauphin Louis (Robert Pattinson with a funny French accent).

Frame from the movie “King”
Shakespeare’s screen versions in our time are, as you know, controversial and not to say what is needed. The reason is not even that the concept of the Western canon, built around an English classic, is gradually dying – everything is much simpler and more prosaic: Shakespeare is simply tired of it. Over the past hundred years, he was literally filmed in theatrical theater, transferred the action to medieval Japan and even modern Finland, so in 2019 from the next film adaptation you expect at least something unusual and new. In addition, let the story of Henry V not so often as the story of the Prince of Denmark, but still quite often got to the screens big and small: there were classic films of the same name by Laurence Olivier and Kenneth Branagh, the series “The Empty Crown” and even “Falstaff” Orson Welles. Their number is replenished with the “King” of David Michaud – a film that wants to surprise with realism, but tires of theatricality.

Frame from the movie “King”
Joel Edgerton and David Michaud wrote a script based on three parts of the monumental Genrikhiada – it is not surprising that their tandem had to focus on the same topics, and to throw something aside and simply ignore it. For example, the film’s leitmotif – the abuse of power and the way it spoils people – clearly undermines the core of history, the growing up of Henry V and his transformation from a cuticle who never dreamed of ruling the country, into a rational monarch who cuts down political intrigues in the bud.

Frame from the movie “King”
However, even worse they treated Falstaff – one of the most complex characters in Shakespeare’s work and the unwritten protagonist of plays about Henry IV and Henry V. Behind the image of a drunkard and a rogue is a hero with a progressive philosophy built on nihilism and hedonism. For him, war is not a matter of honor, but an easy way to make money on alcohol and women. An ideal hero for Michaud and Edgerton, who seem to want to move away from the glorification of the war and show that it’s just a slaughter in the mud for the sake of empty ideas, violence for the sake of violence, but they lazily use the character as a lever of pressure on Henry V. The hero Shalame will bend over his friend’s corpse in almost frame-by-frame repeating the ending “Call me by your name” and will finally understand that war is really bad, people are dying.

“King” is just a series of missed opportunities and an attempt to follow the path of least resistance. A 140-minute monster in which Shakespearean theaters about political conspiracies are read theatrically for 2 hours and somersault in the mud for 20 minutes. It’s clear that the fans of Chalamet and Pattinson would love to watch at least 10 hours as their favorites pompously discuss politics, joke about big eggs and a small dick and offer each other patsansky to go one on one, but this is still tiring due to the lack of at least some plot dynamics and hints of psychologism.

But those 20 minutes with the battles are excellent – the battles were not shot as an amateur reconstruction with wooden swords, but realistically and rigidly, with typical pathos speeches (strongly outplaying Chalame) that motivate the soldiers to die on the field, and the viewer not to turn off the film for now. The Battle of Agincourt at its best moments resembles the Battle of the Bastards, but it’s easy to forgive: Sapochnik nevertheless set a new standard for directing large-scale battles. However, other technical trump cards save the weak direction of The King: Adam Arkpaw’s cameraman’s work (Macbeth by Justin Kurzel) and music by Nicholas Brittle, one of the best composers of our time. With big names on the poster, I would like, of course, more, but thanks for that too.

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