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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Critic Reviews for The King Is Alive

All Critics (68) | 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.

Jul 3, 2014 | Rating: 9/10 | Full Review…

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

Jul 6, 2008
Top Critic

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

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

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

Nov 18, 2002

It doesn't escape its own ascetic pretensions.

Jul 20, 2001 | Rating: 1.5/5

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.

Jun 28, 2001 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

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