Encapsulating the viewer with his determined yet troubled eyes and regal aura, Timothée Chalamet assumes the role of King Henry V in Netflix’s newest film “The King.”
Chalamet, perhaps best known for his coming of age romances such as “Call Me By Your Name” and “Lady Bird,” offers a chilling performance in this historical drama.
Although he has already shown his acting chops in other, more serious roles, his portrayal of King Henry V shows just how versatile he can be.
Set in 15th century England, the film begins with King Henry IV’s health coming into question -- he’s dying and needs a successor.
In comes Chalamet as Prince Henry, otherwise referred to as “Hal” by his peers. Hal is King Henry IV’s eldest son, and therefore the heir to the throne, but his father does not deem him worthy of the title, nor does Hal want the kingship himself.
Hal is a drunken slob who sleeps all day and parties all night. King Henry IV suggests that his next eldest son, Thomas, take the throne instead so that Hal cannot ruin the kingdom. However, Hal seems to think of his younger brother as too naïve for the throne and attempts to aid him in battle, which does not end well for Thomas.
Eventually, King Henry IV dies and Hal must fulfill his role as the new King of England. While it may be expected that he would do a terrible job, Hal proves himself to be an incredibly respectable ruler.
Timothée Chalamet – who simply looks like he belongs in a Renaissance painting – has Hal take on the position of king excellently. While there are some who are untrustworthy of his rule, he shows that he is a force to be reckoned with, especially when it comes to England waging war against France.
Toward the climax of the film, as Henry and his troops are heading to war, Robert Pattinson arrives as the Dauphin of France. A pleasant surprise, Pattinson offers some much needed, albeit short, comic relief to the otherwise serious film.
Aside from the excellent acting, the cinematography is just beautiful. There are numerous wide landscape views showcasing the setting sun, and the color contrast of the dark and dull armor of the soldiers against the scarlet red of Hal’s fur cloak is exquisite.
“The King” also does a great job of setting an ominous tone throughout with the echoes of a choir and the bellows of an organ.
The film ran slightly long at a whopping two hours and twenty minutes, but it was engaging all the way through. There was even a plot twist that I never saw coming.
Whether or not historical dramas are your forte, this entertaining yet informative film is a must-watch. And Chalamet’s acting isn’t too bad either.