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February 28, 2011 / Prof Cupcake.

And the king said

The Kings speech:

From its opening frame of a vintage radio mic this film reeked of Oscar success. While not a particularly experimental or thought provoking film, this fantastic feel good number is well worth the hype.

In a year when many of the best films focused on complex narrative structure where in time, plot and character were often subjective definitions prone to dissolving at a moments notice, (or the gentle spin of a top,) it is almost refreshing to find a film that lives so whole heartily in the world of one main character, moving through time in a linear fashion. The Kings Speech, from its onset, has the unique qualification of feeling like both a 1920’s-30’s period piece as well as a product from the mid 90’s. Few special effects, heavy-handed dialogue, ornate production pieces and an all start cast, all contribute to making the King’s Speech feel like a classic film you missed the first time around and are now catching in wide release.

Based on the life of King George the 6th (both before and after his ascension to the throne.) the film focuses on the King’s speech impediment. Taking place during the lead up to and beginning of World War 2, the film focuses on the King growing concern that his inability to speak is a rather large issue for a prince. A matter of personal pride motivate him to over come his speech impediment, though the attempts are often feeble and half hearted. Yet as the opening of factories and speeches at horse races taken on a more serious note with the cloud of war beginning to brew along the horizon, his inability to speak articulately takes on a more serious edge, as the King fears that he will be unable to motivate the masses against Hitler. The film unsurprisingly culminates in the King’s first wartime speech which is delivered rather flawlessly.

The acting in this film is singularly sublime. Wonderfully traditional feeling character acting where the actors, for a rare change seem to give themselves whole heartedly to the plot leaving behind there many rather larger then life characters and own personal egos. Helena Bonham Carter for instance shows for one of the first times in her career that she is a rather exceptionally talented actress who can do more then scream and rip her hair asunder. Geoffrey Rush is sublime, which is rather to be expected and yet unsurprisingly, as the film does really hinge on his performance, it is Colin Firth who manages to shine brighter then all the others in this film. Colin Firth’s performance as king George is intoxicating to watch and beautiful to listen to. He is sensational as a man crippled by his own voice and manages to infuse all of his scenes with a sense of un-abandon gravitas.

Ultimately I felt this film was very refreshing. Simple, logical and linear, with wonderful direction and exquisite sets it is always a joy a watch in the most traditional of sense. Granted at times it felt heavy handed, if I saw one more sequences where the king’s mouth was obscured by a radio mic for instance I was going to write a rather angry letter to some one.






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