By the time you read this, Disney Plus will have rolled out in North America with its exclusive Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar and National Geographic content. Less than two weeks ago, Apple TV Plus came out worldwide.
To keep everything exciting, Netflix has four heavy hitters to round out the year: “The King,” Martin Scorsese’s much anticipated “The Irishman,” “Marriage Story” and “Two Popes.” All four films premiered at various prestigious film festivals (Venice, New York, Telluride) in August and September. This is followed by a limited release in cinemas and an eventual release via the streaming platform.
Last February, Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” which most of us saw via Netflix, won Best Director, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Cinematography at the Academy Awards. Steven Spielberg was very vocal about material such as this — and how it should be considered a TV movie. Spielberg’s Amblin spokesperson was quoted saying, “Steven feels strongly about the difference between the streaming and theatrical situation.”
That apparently has not stopped Netflix from its pursuit of more Academy Awards. There are predictions for “The Irishman” getting an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor. “Marriage Story” with Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson is predicted for nominations in those three categories plus Best Actress.
The first of the four, “The King,” stars 23-year-old Timothee Chalamet who is no stranger to Oscar-nominated films. In 2017, he was in “Lady Bird” and “Call Me By Your Name” for which he earned a Best Actor nomination. He’ll also be Paul Atreides in Denis Villeneuve’s ambitious “Dune.”
It also features the always excellent Joel Edgerton and Ben Mendelsohn. Robert Pattinson, who was recently in critically acclaimed horror film in “Lighthouse” plays the Dauphin of France. Hopefully, with these interesting projects he’s been doing, we’ll all forget that vampire film he did and get set up properly for his “The Batman.”
“The King” tells the story of King Henry 5th, it’s a somewhat condensed cinematic vision of Shakespeare’s Henriad plays. But don’t expect Shakespearean language. It covers Hal or Henry’s rift with his father, Henry 4th. Hal was a rebel; he initially had no interest in following in his father’s footsteps. Fate, had other plans, Henry 5th did take the crown at age 26. He did want change the way his father ran things. Yet, while he preferred diplomacy and restraint at the start — it seems battle after battle was inevitable.
One of the many things I like about watching a good historical drama like this one (or a mix of fiction and history like “Vikings”) is seeing kings actually get out there on the battlefield — getting dirty and bloodied and risking their lives along with their men. Such is fiction these days. Do you see the presidents of nations get down and dirty on the ground with the wars they start?
“The King” is great for history buffs, and I feel it is but a warm up for the Oscar quality films we could be enjoying from the comfort of our couches as the year winds down.