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58

Mixed or average reviews - based on 29 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 13 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Elvis Valderez (Bernal) is a twenty-one year old dreamer who has just been honorably discharged from the US Navy. With his duffle bag and rifle, he travels back to his hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas, where he intends to seek out his father -- a man he has only heard about from his Mexican mother, who has since passed away. (ThinkFilm) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 29
  2. Negative: 3 out of 29
  1. 100
    The King's perception of religion is hardly friendly, but it's only one aspect of a terrific drama, one that ultimately admits that people can be as much of a terrifying mystery as their creator.
  2. Reviewed by: Damon Wise
    80
    A compelling, intelligent and provocative sins-of-the-father story with a terrific ensemble cast, and a standout Mr. Ripley turn by the ever-versatile Gael García Bernal.
  3. Dark, disturbing and audaciously original in a way only indies are given license to be anymore, the film never telegraphs where it's heading. But you don't need a pathfinder to sense the general direction is toward hell.
  4. The King feels like a morality play without any morals.
  5. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    63
    Compelling and exasperating in pretty much equal doses.
  6. Reviewed by: Brian Clark
    50
    The most frustrating films are the ones that reach desperately for something great, but fall just short of capturing it. In his dark and twisted narrative debut, The King, British director James Marsh's reach extends so far we can hear his muscles strain, yet what he's reaching for is never quite clear.
  7. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    25
    There is no tragedy without character, yet the way The King drapes heavy situations around its feebly imagined personalities suggests a tire thrown around the neck of a poodle.

See all 29 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 6
  2. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. BillyS.
    Aug 16, 2006
    8
    When a movie comes to town without any fanfare, no t.v. spots, not even an ad in the Friday paper, go see it! 9 out of 10 times it will be far better than that weeks hollywood blockbuster playing on every other screen in the city. Case in point- The King. A little film with a couple of great actors who didn't get 10 million dollars each but cared enough to want to tell a interesting, complex story and trusted the director to tell it his way. Gael Garcia Bernal has made an incridible string of movies since Amores Perres and I can't wait for The Science of Sleep when he teams with Michel Gundry and William Hurt, as always, makes any movie worth seeing. As for the ending, I LOVED IT!! The long tracking shot leading up to it was pure Altman and I thought the music was spot on. I'd rather go to a movie that I'm going to think about long after it's over than go see a Lady in the Water where it's more like getting out of jail when it's over anyday. Expand
  2. ArmondA.
    Feb 5, 2007
    8
    This film makes a great deal of sense as a portrait of a Psychopathic Personality (or any of the official titles that such people have been given in the Psychiatric classification schemes). The authors and makers of the movie have constructed a very fine example of the psychopath, using their artistic and very intuitive sense of what kinds of traits and behavior patterns seemed to "hang together". Furthermore they have even shown how a lost soul with a very poor conscience and little control over strong impulses can cause terrible damage under the right (or wrong) circumstances. The mistake that the film-makers make comes from this understandable error, which considers only the foul monsters of Night of the Hunter, The Stepfather, and varioius "deranged" serial killers. Had the writers understood the subtle deficiencies of the psychopathic personality, they might have been able to connect the outcome with the beginning and middle of the story. Of course, if anyone is ill-equipped to realize what he's got on his hands it would be a religious man who tends to see things, and people, as either "good or "bad". Our young sailor was more of a swiss cheese than a bar of either gold or sulfur. I'm giving this movie an 8--lots of good elements, but a story that leads to headscratching. Expand
  3. MikeH.
    Aug 12, 2006
    7
    Very compelling until ridiculous ending, made more so by the music, the tone of which was completely wrong.
  4. ChadS.
    Apr 2, 2007
    6
    In the tradition of "The Rapture"(Michael Tolkin), "The King" is a provocative, albeit highly implausible film that challenges traditional Christian tenets; not by blaspheming them, but by pushing the doctrine's spirit to its outermost limits of rationality. This overly schematic indie, reminiscent of "Last House on the Left"(Wes Craven), and especially Terrence Malick's "Badlands"(throw in "A.I." in there, too), highlights the Christian belief that all your past transgressions(pick a sin, any sin: murder, adultery, cheating on your SATs, etc.) are forgiven if the sinner opens his/her heart to Jesus Christ. With savage cunning and perversity, "The King" will make you wonder if this all-inclusive club should rethink its bylaws. Unless I read this film wrong, and a crucial plot point was meant to be straight-faced satire, "The King" loses its credibility when neither husband nor wife acknowledges the coincidence that transforms their family unit. If the filmmaker jammed our internal bull**** detectors with some ingenuous detail to make the Sandows' act of charity appear organic to the story(rather than the contrivance that it is), "The King" would've inspired the congregation of cineastes to shout, "Hallelujah, praise James Marsh!" from the pews to the rafters and beyond. Expand
  5. Drew
    Jul 3, 2006
    6
    Until it lost credibility about 2/3 of the way through, this movie really had me hooked. Bernal was completely believable, and the cast worked well around him, especially young Pell james as the daughter. When the big plot turn happened, though, you had to start suspending disbelief a bit too much for it to really be affecting cinema. It showed a lot of potential, though. if it could have been scripted a bit more realistically at the end, it would have been chilling. It ended up just being weird, but was worth a view for Bernal's and James' performances. Expand
  6. JimG.
    Jul 1, 2006
    4
    Some good actors can't overcome unsatisfactory screenplay, poorly edited. Gael is a pleasure to look at, but the story doesn't hang together. Expand

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