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Judge Brendan Babish's Blog

Judge Brendan Babish • Location: Upland, CA
• Member since: November 2005
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Philadelphia Film Festival Review #10: The King
April 10th, 2006 6:00PM

Title: The King
Director: James Marsh

Every once in a long while I am able to see a film without any preconceived notions. Usually my expectations are artificially raised or lowered by word of mouth. Often the movie's plot is corrupted by an overzealous marketing department. Yet I have found that knowing nothing about the film I am about to watch sometimes creates the ideal situation for movie going. The only two things I knew about The King was that it starred William Hurt and that pretty-boy actor Gael Garcia Bernal. And all you need to know is that this movie was far better than anything else I saw at the Festival. In fact, it may be the best film I see this year.

I have to qualify this: The King is not for everybody. It is an intense movie, punctuated with moments of incredibly dark comedy. This is a film that is going to make you uneasy. This is a film where people in the audience are going to be talking to the (i.e.-"Don't go in there!"). There was also, at my screening, a man who laughed so hard, for so long, that I thought he was going to need medical treatment.

I implore anyone with any interest in watching The King to stay away from all media relating to this movie (except for this review). The film's first twist happens about 30 minutes in, so it is difficult to discuss much of the plot without giving too much away. I have already watched the film's trailer on-line and was disappointed at how much they show (in addition to the media, stay away from the marketing as much as possible).

The film opens in limited release on May 6th. Go see it.

Grade: A


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