Saturday, January 15, 2011

"The King's Speech" (2010) - Movie Review

Tom Hooper apparently knows very well about the friendships between great men. He did so in the TV Series “John Adams” between the titular character and Thomas Jefferson. Then he thumped the big screen in “The Damned United” showing one man soccer coach Brian Clough’s admiration disguised as a rivalry towards his inspiration Don Revie the coach of Leeds United and his friendship with his long true friend his right hand man Peter Taylor. In “The King’s Speech” he formulates the relationship between a King and a common man.

Colin Firth has been like Hugh Grant for me, in the sense playing the romantic lead part to perfection without variation. And then I saw “A Single Man”. A film which exhibits the urge to achieve perfection by director Tom Ford that makes Colin Firth into a methodical man sobbing internally in total madness. The pain, the angst, the loss and the desperation have not been told with such a precision and arrangement like a photographic painting. In “The King’s Speech”, Firth is King George VI, a stammering, shy and often spewing one lined volcanic temper eruptions, he makes it all so very easy.

The understanding of someone stammering does not help in controlling the impatience of the listeners. The brain has been programmed to listen to an uninterrupted speech, especially a public one. If someone translates the train of thoughts, ideas, opinions and passion into wrecking it in serious pauses then the immediacy in judging them incapable is unavoidable. Being in a royal family and often to address people King George before being the King did not have much of a choice. More the pressure more the stammering and he is constantly being bullied by the physicians. Time for something radical and unorthodox. Otherwise there will be no spiciness in the story, isn’t it? In comes Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), a man of pencil thin stature fitting his suit with justice and speaks and conducts in a free flow like his speech.

Geoffrey Rush might be remembered as the man in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise but I remember him in “The Tailor of Panama” a simple man playing the players around him with finesse through meticulous speech. As Lionel Logue he understands the nature of the help one asks wherein the healing of the speech wounds lies deep in personal corners. Unfortunately being in a royal family advises to withhold that part to any outsiders while Logue expects that to be the fundamentals of working on improving the speech of King George. Unsuccessfully he settles to treat the problem as a mechanical failure than a psychological issue.

Both Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush devote in their characters. Firth needs to forget his conscious nature to not stammer and embody the full effect of this frustrating and agonizing problem into him. Rush needs to not over do it in his animated dramatization of this colourful and cheerful character. While the film is indeed about the battle of fighting this problem of stammering for King George VI, it is about a man coming out in the open of the society and learning to learn the art of confidence. Born as a superior and taught so, King George has more to be embarrassed and ashamed to admit. To not convey himself properly to his people he questions his ability to govern them.

The life of royal family is as much as flamboyant and luxurious it appears to be is also one of the closed and contained public prison. The resemblance of a private life and one’s wish evaporates and all is left is the expectation of the several nameless entities counting moments to judge and crucify. In between these millions are the most basic problems of all, family. King’s wife Queen Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) is supportive and authoritative while his brother King Edward VIII (Guy Pearce) choose to mock his brother when he wants to win an argument. His father (Michael Gambon) sees it as the mistake of him rather than a disability. Among these pressures the man has to rise and rise in the worst of the times the world has witnessed among depression and war to name a few.

“The King’s Speech” has one classic great emotional moment when King George comes by for a drink to Logue’s place after his father’s death. Great acting comes when there is an unconditional and involuntary empathy of feeling from audience. When King George disappears and off comes Bertie to his teacher and friend Lionel and confides in him, that is where the symphonic synchronization between Tom Hooper, Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush blossoms the core of this story. Danny Cohen’s cinematography makes no mistake in capturing those close faces of these two men at that instance and provide that brilliance without disturbance. “The King’s Speech” is no “The Damned United” but it is a damn good film.


kari_the_sin said...

Hello ashok,
hope you are doing good.
This review of the movie was truely have done it.
The flow of speech is excellent.

Slowly you are blooming into a professional movie critic and a good writer.
Keep it up!

Ashok said...

Thank you Karthik! I am glad you enjoyed the review :-) and I am sure you would like the movie as well.