Disappointingly dull, The King lacked the life and color I expected


Because I, simply put, adore Timothee Chalamet, I’ve seen every film in his repertoire, which all place Chalamet in a colorful coming-of-age story in which he plays a somewhat moody and dazed teenager.

So when he promoted yet another one of his films, The King, I’ll admit that I was extremely excited to see his stupidly pretty face in another movie, but I was also looking forward to witnessing him in a role that seemed to starkly contrast his others. 

Set in the 15th century, The King tells Prince Hal’s story of reluctantly receiving the role of king after his father’s death; the two-hour film depicts Hal’s incredible navigation through the murky waters of death, palace politics, and waging war with France.

In The King, Chalamet plays Prince Hal, formally known as King Henry V.

With a stacked cast, i.e. Timothee Chalamet, and historically magnificent storyline, it seemed that I would be queuing up a stellar masterpiece of a movie. It started so strong, so shiny and stellar, but as the film progressed, the initial shine dulled. 

Beginning with a suspenseful scene of post-battle bodies and blood, I immediately noticed moody and dark the colors were—how masterfully that matched the mood of the film, and how masterfully that mood maintained throughout. 

Timothee Chalamet’s first appearance displayed his aloof attitude towards his father, the kingdom, and war itself. His ill, dying father announces that he’ll be passing the crown to Thomas, his oldest son which came as no surprise, and no disappointment, to Hal. But when, spoiler alert, his brother dies in battle, the only child left to inherit the crown is Hal—and he begrudgingly accepts. 

From his first appearance, it seemed that Hal was never fit to be king; he displayed little drive to be the best version of himself, and his values starkly contrasted the views of his father. While his father advocated war, and in turn, death, Hal strived for peace—wanting to avoid war. 

But when the dauphin of France sent Hal a rubber ball—a symbol of war—there was really no other choice but to fight for England and his kingdom. 

And this is where the initial shine started to dull. This was where, if I turned away, I wouldn’t miss anything important. If I shut my eyes for a few seconds, I would not be missing anything colorful. 

The King had every element needed to be a lustrous film, yet there was something so lackluster about it. The writing was exquisite—every character seemed to eloquently speak in poetry, always having something meaningful to say. The colors and cinematography were breathtakingly beautiful—magnificent shots of the mountainous landscape, gloomy forests, and palace added to the initial colorful splendor of the film. 

But the element of dullness was just too colorful to ignore. 

The pinnacle moment that the entire film seemed to be leading to—the battle between England and France—was just… meh. It was gloriously shot, yes, and it was bloody and muddy and rainy, and the music accompanying the battle was perfectly suspenseful, but there was just something missing. 

Color, maybe. Intensity. 

Timothee Chalamet made up for the lack of color with his powerful monologues and speeches throughout the film. His character said a lot with very little words; what wasn’t said almost spoke louder than what was actually said, if that makes any sense. 

The film as a whole wasn’t horrible—the actors were given an incredible script to work with, and they delivered insanely well. 

I tried so hard to focus on the incredible performances of the actors and well-written script, but nothing can really save a slow-paced film ridden with mood and gloom. 

And while I adore Timothee Chalamet, a powerful actor with a really beautiful face, he can’t single-handedly give life to a dull film.