Gael Garcia Bernal
Overall, THE KING is a mildly disturbing look at about the concept of family and the implications of judgment. Marsh’s direction is surprisingly skillful, but it’s the actors’ performances that make this movie as effective as it is. In the last few years, Gael Garcia Bernal has proven himself a young actor to be reckoned with, and not just in foreign movies. You’re never quite sure of Elvis’s motivations or intentions and Bernal plays the balance perfectly. William Hurt is given an equally complicated character and really sinks his teeth in to the role, giving his most passionate performance in years.
While the acting is great, that doesn’t save the characters from being terribly underwritten. Laura Harring is the biggest victim here; the mother in this situation should have a large role, but Harring unfortunately spends the majority of the movie in the background doing a good Diane Lane impression. Even the two main characters never get fleshed out quite enough to keep you empathizing with them. And while I do think the final scene is effective, the ending overall comes too quickly and never truly capitalizes on all the build up and tension THE KING works so hard to create. The result is a story that I couldn’t discern was trying to be a tale of complex love, brutal revenge or a spiritual tragedy. At first the discrepancy was kind of cool, but by the end credits it left me expecting more.
Commentary by writer/producer Milo Addica and writer/director James Marsh: Not a bad commentary, but the two are a bit too formal and stodgy (i.e. “Well, James, I find that scene is…”) which makes it a tough listen.
Deleted Scenes (6:54): Three scenes; nothing of consequence, although there is a bit more that deals with Elvis and Malerie’s “problem” that wouldn’t have hurt to be left in.
Rehearsal Scene (2:49): Some test footage of the confrontation between Bernal and Paul Dano. Both guys are solid actors and it pretty much follows the final scene, beat by beat.
A Theatrical Trailer and Previews for movies you’ve never heard of.
Extra Tidbit: 29 year old Pell James plays a 16 year old in the movie film and did not tell director James Marsh about her real age until filming had finished.