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The King

✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

Australia, USA

2019

Rated R • 2h 20m

Director David Michôd

Starring Timothée Chalamet, Joel Edgerton, Sean Harris, Tom Glynn-Carney

Genre Drama, History, War

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After his brother is killed in battle before his coronation, young king Henry V is coronated in the late 1300s. The reluctant ruler wears the crown at a time when England was near a war with France, and the empire is teetering.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

91

The Playlist by

In spite of all the reasons that this film should have been another "Outlaw King" – silly and self-important – it manages to cleverly duck and dive around nearly all of them. It’s a feat that speaks to the deftness and intelligence of the approach that Michôd and Edgerton take with their writing and direction, giving us an epic period piece that actually fulfills much of that ambition.
80

TheWrap by Alonso Duralde

Full of surprises ... It’s a historical piece that defies expectation and offers both the thrills of battle and a thoughtful critique of war and imperialism.
50

IndieWire by David Ehrlich

The King is so eager to be a mud-and-guts epic about inherited violence and the corruption of power that it loses sight of the rich coming-of-age story at its core.
60

CineVue by John Bleasdale

The King feels disconnected and unurgent. Despite some wonderful moments, it perhaps lacks the requisite majesty.
70

Variety by Owen Gleiberman

Too many movies set in this period end up as action films in medieval drag. The excitement of “The King” is that Michôd lays out the consequences of combat with gruesome precision, demythologizing the battle.
80

Time Out by Phil de Semlyen

Sure, some of the historical detail is terrible (did Henry V really get crowned topless?) and Shakespeare purists may scream heresy, but director David Michôd has done something genuinely fresh and confident with this well-told piece of English folklore.
60

Vanity Fair by Richard Lawson

Without the Shakespearean language, this is just an ahistorical story about a king and a battle. ... But it’s nothing fancy, really, nothing newfangled or inventive. This is a pretty straight-down-the-middle period war-king film, a true Boy Movie of respectable pedigree but no real distinction.
80

Time by Stephanie Zacharek

The King, written by Michôd and Edgerton, zips along—it never feels like a slog, though it still has a satisfyingly hefty dramatic weight.
60

The Guardian by Xan Brooks

One watches Chalamet’s performance here with a simmering unease, willing him on but wondering if he is entirely fit for the task.

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