I love me some Shakespeare and the Henry IV/Henry V plays hold a particularly high place in my heart. The story of a roustabout prince who becomes a worthy king thanks as much to his rowdy friends as his regal handlers offered a deep and meaningful multi-play journey. And on top of that you have Falstaff, one of literature’s most alive characters.
It’s easy to see why we already have a couple classic film adaptations of Henry V, as on its surface it’s a war story. But I’ve longed to see someone take on the Henry IV plays as well. I thought that was what The King was offering but this trailer is now making that somewhat less clear:
This looks dark and serious and of our time to be sure. The cast is amazing, and I’m positive it will walk away with tons of acclaim when it premieres at the Venice Film Festival. But for me, it looks too dark, too serious, too of our time. I’m feeling especially unsure about this version of Falstaff. There is a deep sadness to that character, but he is not a sad character like we see in this trailer. The whole thing gives me a lot of pause.
On the other hand, if the movie is good within itself, then it is a good movie. We’ll just have to wait and see how people receive it. And we’ll get to see for ourselves when The King hits Netflix this fall.