(US/Australia/UK - 2019)
Directed by David Michod. Written by David Michod and Joel Edgerton. Cast: Timothee Chalamet, Joel Edgerton, Ben Mendelsohn, Robert Pattinson, Sean Harris, Tom Glynn-Carney, Lily-Rose Depp, Thomasin McKenzie, Andrew Havill, Dean-Charles Chapman, Steven Elder, Edward Ashley, Stephen Fewell, Tara Fitzgerald, Tom Fisher, Ivan Kaye, Thibault de Montalembert, Philip Rosch, Lucas Hansen, Harry Trevaldwyn. (R, 140 mins)
A revisionist, GAME OF THRONES-inspired take on three plays in Shakespeare's 15th century-set Henriad (Henry IV Part I, Henry IV Part II, and Henry V), THE KING eschews the Bard's prose in favor of straightforward dialogue scripted by director David Michod (ANIMAL KINGDOM, THE ROVER), and co-star Joel Edgerton. Edgerton takes the role of Falstaff, and the character as presented here is notably different from past HENRY V incarnations in the 1944 Laurence Oliver and 1989 Kenneth Branagh films, and particularly the gold standard that is Orson Welles in his own 1966 masterpiece CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT, which made Falstaff the central character. In Shakespeare, Falstaff, the bad influence, rough-around-the-edges guardian-turned-best friend of King Henry IV's wayward son Prince Hal, is rejected and left heartbroken by his beloved young charge upon his ascension to the throne. In the Michod/Edgerton take, Falstaff is left adrift on his own until his services are needed by the newly-crowned King Henry V (CALL ME BY YOUR NAME's Timothee Chalamet), who neither forgot nor abandoned his friend but essentially has too much going on to immediately touch base with him.