A Few Salty Reviews

The King [Netflix – released 2019] ⭐️⭐️

The King is as sludgy a mess as the mud-wrestling Battle of Agincourt it portrays. Its attemt to force contemporary political ishoos into a fifteenth-century chronicle leads to embarrassing plot and language clangs. At one moment we have high rhetoric and moments after references to ‘regime change’.

I have no idea why we have to have dialogue delivered in sotto voce strangulated voices coming from the back of the throat. It just renders things unintelligible. I couldn’t tell a word Joel Edgerton was saying in his nonsensical portrayal of Falstaff. He is clearly a member of the Sean Bean school of monotone delivery.

Many of the early scenes are backlit so clumsily that we rarely see faces with any definition so it is hard to establish who the characters are.

The amateurish screenplay plays fast and loose with history. The battle of Shrewsbury doesn’t even happen. Henry did not have frequent meetings with the Dauphin and would never have knelt to him. Etc., etc.

I know Shakespeare happily turned Hollinshed’s Chronicles into Tudor propaganda but at least he knew where he was going, whereas this dog’s breakfast has little coherence except as a vehicle for co-writer Joel Edgerton’s ego.

Perhaps we are meant to see the king as a pacifist, quasi-woke young man corrupted by realpolitik but there is little understanding of the realities of 15th century politics here. Timothée Chalamet is pretty after his haircut but rather monochrome in performance. Tom Glynn-Carney is promisingly fiery as Hotspur but is killed off pretty sharpish. The ubiquitous Johnny Depp isn’t in it but his daughter Lilly-Rose is as a sour-faced princess. How much more delightful is Shakespeare’s Catherine de Valois.

I was expecting Shakespeare+GoT but was very disappointed. There were moments at Harfleur and Agincourt where I was roused marginally – but they passed.

Tolkien [Biopic 2019] ⭐️⭐️

Pretty but slow-moving and lacking in drive. Some great actors but the screenplay is damp. Some rather clunking public school and WW1 tropes. It all feels rather tired.

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Highly unsavoury Peter Greenaway masterpiece.
In the worst possible taste.
For film gourmets only.
Sumptuous tracking shots. Tasty colour coding. Succulent acting. Juicy mock-baroque music by Michael Nyman.
Hot steaming sex.
Not for those with weak digestion.
Hadn’t seen it for a decade. Still impressed with this Jacobean horror.

Roma
⭐️

Second attempt at watching. Bored silly. Not even persuaded by this review: ‘Gonzalez Rodriguez asserts that the film is a unique example of syntonic indigeneity as it challenges traditional representations of the indigenous Other as an exotic figure (histrionic indigeneity)’.

What a load of bull-dysentery.