Friday, February 25, 2011

A Standard Movie

The King's Speech (2010)/ Tom Hooper

The King’s Speech’s is not a small achievement – it transforms a speech impediment into a political struggle. The contents of King George VI’s speech, as England prepares to engage a rather sinister (Hitler is never scarier than in newsreel footage) enemy in combat, are ‘broadcast’ in the film over a montage of his ‘people’ listening intently to their monarch’s address. Secretly, all of them know that he stammers like hell, and in these times of crisis, it’s crucial they have a leader who is not ‘impotent’ in any regard. Therefore, the montage features shots of families hurled up in British proletariat houses, unfurnished industrial quarters, rich palatial mansions and strictly middle-class apartments – all of them listen, as the King grapples and gropes, but never stammers; thereby supplying England with its potency. At its core, The King’s Speech is about the struggle of King George VI to match up with the oratory skills of his rival, Hitler (and he is a really cool orator). Which is good too, because in times of such broadcast-proliferation, the war is won not by the one who fights better, but who speaks better. The King’s Speech is particularly British in its central method: it is a rather standard film. Standard performances written in a standard script that is shot in a standard way. One might fault it for its lack of any particular ambitiousness, but why miss the point: it is in its unwavering devotion to the standard that its noble ambition lies.

1 comment:

  1. I wrote a very similar review for the PH capsule. Just substitute 'standard' with 'ordinary'.