The King (2006)
Critic Consensus: This disturbing film about the past coming back demanding its due evokes classical tragedy, but is ultimately too heavy-handed.
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Critic Reviews for The King
The many possible ways to read the film might be more fruitful if Marsh's direction was more assured.
It really is reprehensible and disgusting, not only because we've seen far too many sociopaths in movies over the past 20 years, but because it deals with horrid clichés and presents them as something indie-hip and morally provocative.
Audience Reviews for The King
This movie is a bit f'ed, but I really like it. I saw it years ago and was delighted to find a $3 copy at the op shop recently. Stood up well to a rewatch, particularly as I had forgotten how it ends. Disturbed young man hunts down the father he never met, a devoutly religious man, and becomes romantically involved with his half sister (who had no idea they are related). Turns very dark by the end.
Somehow against all odds The King is dark yet somehow fulfilling. Bernal is terrific in a role where he hides who he really is. His actions seem to come off with no malicious intent despite the obvious destruction they could cause. It makes for an extremely creepy and twisted protagonist. This isn't someone who lurks in the shadows or gives you the evil eye from a distance, no twiddling of mustaches either. The revenge aspect is handled brilliantly to the point where it doesn't feel like a revenge film. It starts off with very gritty hand held camera work but as the film progresses to a more suburban local the camera settles and bright greens make it look like a pleasant world. This is also the time that religious aspects enter the film. Hurt has created an eden and left his past sins behind him but Bernal is a snake. The final integration of the King into the family environment is heartbreaking on all accounts as the metaphorical wrecking ball is just off in the distance. It's excellent stuff and crafted with care and passion without ever being heavy handed or inaccessible.
Interesting, but the dialogue seems somewhat clunky in places to me. Perhaps that's due to the upbringing of the characters, but I'm not sure. The cinematography and music are beautiful, but I don't think I like the film. It's a good film, I just don't engage with it very well. Still, what a way to conduct revenge.
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