Review: The King's Speech

The King’s Speech is this year’s biggest award-bait, with a whooping 12 Oscar nominations and winning numerous trophies along its way, most recently collecting three Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards for its lead actor,director Tom Hooper,and the ensemble cast.

I personally think it was a slow, very flat, moderately well-acted film whose main claim to fame was the fact that it’s set in pre-wartime Britain. This provided a lavish setting, a fake sense of momentum and build-up that was ultimately fruitless.

For one,I’ve never really enjoyed period pieces,the last one I did was Atonement,because it was done to a very contemporary mood,and the leading actors brought a youth and vigor that was necessary to enliven things. Here, all the expected elements are present and I think the only highlight was Geoffrey Rush, whose role in shocking, entertaining and keeping the audience interested was far bigger than that of Colin Firth.

As King George VI, Firth seemed perpetually agitated, and the origin of his stammer and nervous disorder were not sufficiently elaborated, so to the uninformed viewer at least, his disability seemed as though stemmed from spoilt behavior, I just couldn’t sympathize or care for him and in a time when soldiers were about to be deployed and families lived in paranoia, his only job was to convey speeches from the comfort of a secluded room and he couldn’t even do that. I’m not saying this was the reality of it,or even the true intention of this screenplay, just in the way the character was acted and positioned in the story, this was the message I got.

In the end it was shallow, conveyed with a deliberate monotone, saved partially by the director’s penchant to create illustrious scenery out of bare dialogue. I can recall at least a dozen parts where I truly couldn’t be bothered about the conversation or where things were headed, but appreciated how the camera brought life into the frame.Two characters strolling in a park, their figures lit by flares and succumbed into intense sunlight, or a family having dinner, just how beautiful and quaint the whole setup of the room was. Besides Geoffrey Rush,the work of director Tom Hooper and cinematographer Danny Cohen is an understated contribution,without them this would’ve physically been a colorless,creatively dull outcome.

As Queen Elizabeth, Helena Bonham Carter plays a very limited, one-dimensional role that doesn’t justify her Oscar nomination. She is an exceptional actor as always but we see no depth, no exploration, she makes brief appearances and creates zero impact. As his brother and temporary King, Guy Pearce is a silly choice and the male equivalent of a primal bimbo (except I think he’s hideous), he strides around with a pompous royal accent and is aristocratic in the way a high school theatre play would interpret it.

I rarely agree with the Oscar’s top choice every year,but this will inevitably win most of the awards nominated for,because it has all the appearance of a serious,respectable and intelligent movie. These are also the qualities of the Oscar academy, with all the stars and Western talent,it has the natural ability to attract coverage and claims for itself the authority to bestow onto others a sense of achievement that is ultimately hollow and meaningless.

At its heart however, The King’s Speech is a genuine tale of friendship between a king and his speech therapist, and this aims to give a certain modesty to an otherwise high-flying, unrelatable film, but it wasn’t all that touching and I’ve seen better.

*I don't mind however,seeing both Helena Bonham Carter and Colin Firth bagging Oscars (Geoffrey Rush has already won once,for a leading role,although it would be expected and deserving to see him win again) ,they've definitely done better in other films,but both stand among the most extraordinary,capable and adventurous actors of our time and they deserve the recognition,sooner or later.  

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