Posted on 12/12/10 01:55 AM
Captivating and magnificent. Those are the words I use to describe this film. It's brilliantly crafted and well written.
For me, the film hits a deeper note. I can sympathize with the Duke of York, as I had a fear if public speaking. Everyone has to do it sometime in their life, and some are better at it than others.
By taking such an epic scope of the film and narrowing it down to the perspective of one man, it makes the film more manageable when it comes to audience participation. We are seeing a Royal family struggle, but from the underdog.
As for the acting, masterful. Colin Firth is at his A game right now, giving King George VI the stammer and a little lisp when he improves. We feel his tumultuous affairs and the weight on his shoulders. Geoffrey Rush plays the everyman, a mentor to the main character with his own goals and motivations.
Also excellent are Helena Bonham Carter, in a movie not directed by Tim Burton. She plays a mix of supportive and homeliness that is not too sappy. And Guy Pearce, he was so good I thought he was British actor Toby Stephens the entire movie, until the ending credits told me otherwise.
The film is well written. The only complaint is the transition between large periods of time, it simply cuts to a new location with a title and new year. They could have done this a bitter better since the movie says it takes place over many years, but it doesn't seem like it.
As for the pacing itself, amazing. Never a dull scene and the dialogue is exemplary. The character development is through the roof, giving humanness to a person of the past I've never even considered reading about in my spare time. It paints a nice portrait of a held back dysfunctional family in disarray over important matters.
The cinematography lends a hand into how it all plays out. There are few locations, but the camera floats in front of King George for some scenes, making it a sort of build up to the next scene. They also play around with angles a lot, giving variety to the scenes with sitting and conversation.
There is a very harmonious usage of Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92, II. Allegretto by Beethoven with the climax. King George must address the nation (therefore the title) and it is used as he speaks. I've seen this done a few times before (Tarsem Singh's The Fall, Knowing) and this tops them both.
A simple story about a man overcoming his childhood stigmas and personal demons in order to fulfill a greater destiny in himself and his country. A fantastic film on all counts.