Friday 19th May 2006
By Philip Ellwood
Released Friday 19th May 2006
'The King' is the first English speaking lead-role performance from critically acclaimed Mexican actor, Gael Garcia Bernal. The film focuses on Bernal's character Elvis. Elvis is a troubled soul who goes in search of his father after being discharged from the Navy. With only his name and his location, Elvis sets off to find the father (William Hurt) who has been absent throughout his life. Unfortunately for Elvis, his father is not as keen to see him as he is to his father.
It's difficult to categorise 'The King'. The movie is at times a drama but moves more into an edgy taboo-breaking psychological thriller. The events that take place during the movie become increasingly more sinister and I was gob-smacked at just how dark the film becomes - something I did not anticipate from the outset. To detail more about the plot would be to spoil its many twists and turns.
As usual Bernal's performance is outstanding. Bernal has already proven himself to be an incredibly versatile actor and his performance in 'The King' takes his acting credentials to the next level. Bernal's accent is fantastic and eliminates any trace of his usual Mexican tone. The role of Elvis requires Bernal to be dark, moody and creepy; something he manages to achieve completely. His performance really carries the movie and should see him taking on even more challenging roles in the future.
The performances as a whole are impressive. Aside from Bernal, Pell James puts in an impressive turn as Elvis' half sister Malerie Sandow. For someone who is fast approaching 30 she pulls off being a 16 year old Christian girl scarily convincingly.
'The King' is not without its flaws. The storyline does at times pose questions of plausability but with a cast so strong it is easy to push these aside. Some reactions from the characters seem a bit unlikely given the incidents that take place but this does not really spoil the movie. I was so engrossed that I did not really consider theses things until reflecting on the film.
'The King' is a disturbing movie, packed with fantastic performances and an intriguing storyline. Bernal puts in one of his best performances yet and should make him an even bigger star than he is already. I highly recommend the film but be warned it's not the easiest movie to sit through. The easily disturbed may be better staying away.