Friday, January 7, 2011


King's Speech is Oscar Bait, ready to be fucked by the audience that attended The Blind Side or Slumdog Millionare. It's a cute British Dramady Bio-Pic. Directed by Tom Hooper, the director of the John Adams mini-series, he works in similar direction. The film is not complex or interesting, about a King with a speech impediment who has to find his “voice” as to be it for the people in World War II. It attempts to divorce the historical for a majority of the film, attempting a psychological-drama. Yet, the it never gets that subconscious, going only as far as George VI is the product of father and insecurity due to teasing. It shows his isolation and a budding friendship with a speech coach. We are supposed to enjoy their bonding, but are we supposed to enjoy the coach's interest in a character established as weak? Who, with no connection to his subjects, informs us towards the end of his film that he who they look up to when the film goes historical in the third act. As the audience we are supposed to work on some outside nostalgia for World War II to support George VI at the conclusion of the film when he gives a speech in a fully closed off room with only his coach watching. I believe the director wanted us to feel George's empowerment and his courage and to show his connection with his new speech coach comrade, but the outside world is literally shut out. I believe the director completely overlooked the visual symbol of the last scene.
This film has Colin Firth in it, who gave one of the best performances in recent memory in Tom Ford's excellent A Single Man. His performance in this film is stiff, without life, on the cusp of the cartoon. This comparing of two films is a constrictive lens, but I want to note that A Single Man a) only made 9 million dollars in theaters and King's Speech is at 30 million and b) A Single Man's subject matter mixed with the political/economic nature of the Oscars inhibited from the accolades it deserved.
Where this film thinks it differs from recent Bio-Pic films like Ray or Amelia is wallpaper, extreme lens, rack focus, and steadicams. The wallpaper is the star of the film. Everywhere it can be seen it is crazy, vibrant, and odd. Then the steadicam adds little to most scenes, but in some of the historical moments it was possibly an attempt at realism? There are usages of telephoto, wide angle lens and variants of focus. These all only bring more focus to an actor, but in the sense they put focus on the actor. Not heightening anything in the scene, but giving as much focus to the performance at moments that rarely due less than build the mirage of an aesthetic. The art director only deserves credit for the spectacular wallpaper.

The film has nothing going on. Just a character drama with minimal psychological depth. Style over substance. VERDICT: Garbage

1 comment:

  1. Nice review. I mean, I really wanted to see this movie and thought it looked awesome and you completely brought me down off that, but this has been a good write up nonetheless.