The King Is Alive (2001) - Rotten Tomatoes

The King Is Alive (2001)



Critic Consensus: Though the plot feels rather contrived, the ensemble acting in this Dogme 95 film is good.

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Movie Info

Stranded in the heat of a barren African desert, eleven bus passengers shelter in the elements of an abandoned town. As rescue grows more remote by the day and anxiety deepens, an idea emerges: why not stage a play? However, the choice of King Lear only manages to plunge this disparate group of travelers into turmoil as they struggle to overcome both nature's wrath and their own mortality. In the heat of the desert, emotional and sexual tensions surge around the play's production, and they are forced to confront their most raw emotions. With all inhibitions stripped away, their individual fight for survival makes them perform the ultimate role in front of each other - their own lives.

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David Calder
as Charles
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Critic Reviews for The King Is Alive

All Critics (67) | Top Critics (20)

The King is Alive interweaves the madness, the foolhardiness, the greed and the ferocity of human nature that Shakespeare depicted so brilliantly in Lear back in 1606, and shatters us again and again with its insights made refreshed.

Full Review… | July 3, 2014
Top Critic

:ags in the middle, growing more interesting -- if hardly more original -- only as the situation deteriorates.

Full Review… | July 6, 2008
Top Critic

It's all very watchable, thanks to excellent performances all around...

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Levring's film isn't nearly as smart or original as he seems to think it is.

November 18, 2002
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

It doesn't escape its own ascetic pretensions.

July 20, 2001
Washington Post
Top Critic

Pulsing with color and movement in a vast, dune filled landscape, this is a whole new way of using a now familiar bag of tricks.

Full Review… | June 28, 2001
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The King Is Alive


What an unpleasant and nasty little film. The film is a character study of human nature with a bunch of unappealing characters. You can hardly become involved in a film when everyone in it is a jerk. Very slow moving, but has some stunning visual moments. The acting is good.

James Higgins
James Higgins

The writing/directing style reminded me of Hotel. In other words, a bit too artsy-fartsy for my tastes. I'd be curious to see another Dogme 95 movie though before I pass judgment on the movement.

Jeff B
Jeff B

(***): [img][/img] I liked the idea and execution of this film. Reminded my alot of Van Sant's [i]Gerry[/i], a favorite of mine. David Bradley is quite good here.


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