I wasn’t initially going to watch this movie. I love historical drama films, however I’d seen one too many from Netflix by this point that it was only on a cold night when I was alone and bored that I figured I would give it a go. Timothee Chalamet had always received some praise amongst my peers and I wanted to see him given the chance to act in something a little different from what I had seen before from him. And I am glad I did.
The movie itself isn’t awful. The story is interesting, following a young man by the name of Hal (Chalamet) as he gets thrown into the world of a King, despite it being the last thing he ever wanted. The introduction to Hal was a steady way to set up his character, we see him being the drunken, whoring, dejected man he was living to then also being an older brother caring deeply for his sibling and hating his Father strongly, within the first half hour. Therefore when continuing the movie, you have a rough idea of who Hal is, which is why it’s so interesting to watch him battle his own mind, his power and his people’s opinions.
The acting was also successful. Chalamet himself shone in many scenes, although sometimes overshadowed by others this was by no fault of his own. On the moments the script let him be remarkable he truly was, the final battle as he is yelling at his army and hyping them up, the talents of Chalamet are shown and I was invested in this young actor immediately. I believe Chalamet is truly going to go somewhere, he already is well known and successful as people truly realised his talents in the year 2019, yet it is exciting to see where he will go next.
Unfortunately, the movie itself was a little slow. Some scenes felt irrelevant or repetitive, there were times I was drawn to my phone or my eyes would glaze over slightly because it didn’t feel important. By the end of the movie I didn’t feel I had missed anything despite the couple of times I did this and had not taken in the information on screen at those times, therefore I do believe the movie could be shorter to give a snappier and more intense effect on the audience.
Robert Pattinson was a fantastic addition to the cast as well, whilst his French accent was questionable, his acting was so good that it didn’t seem to matter too much that his accent varied from English, French, Russian and German half the time. He was successful at being a slightly mad and deranged man with a thirst for blood and power. The ending of Pattinson’s character was also a strong moment for the movie, as Hal signalled to his people to kill the man as he was already down. It showed who Hal was becoming, who he had the capabilities of being, that he was no longer just the drunken young boy bedding different women and having a strong distaste for war. He was now a King, making the hard and unethical decisions for his kingdom.
The fight scenes were gripping to watch, it felt a lot more realistic than some historical drama’s that I won’t name. The dirt and grime and filthiness, both under their feet and in their strategies, felt realistic and captivating. The confusion and messiness, as the camera pans and everybody is struggling one way or another, mud is flying all over the place, the audience cannot tell the good side from the bad side. These moments were the kind I was putting my phone away to focus on, especially the final battle which brought together everything we had been waiting on: a fight, Hal having to make tough decisions, a result and sadly a death.
With that said, the ending itself was a fairly solid way to end the movie. With Hal’s new wife-to-be having a strong backbone and a vocal opinion, somebody Hal can bounce off of and trust to be honest, especially when we discover Hal has been betrayed by Gascoigne of all people, one of the men who had been by his side the entire time. The ending was strike after strike of curiosities, storytelling and surprise or excitement. As the credits began to roll, I let out a curious hum thinking about the movie as a whole, and I had been surprisingly happy to have watched it. From not wanting to at first, to being rather impressed by it, things truly did take a turn for me but Chalamet and Pattinson’s acting, plus the directing talents of Michôd and of course Shakespeare’s original writings that this was based off of, I had no choice but to enjoy the movie at the end of the day.