THE KING’S SPEECH
Reviewer Dexter Kong
Release Date: May 9th, 2011 (UK & Ireland)
Director: Tom Hooper
Cast:Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush , Helena Bonham Carter, Derek Jacobi, Guy Pearce, Jennifer Ehle, Michael Gambon
The King’s speech is all about the power of the spoken word. It is set during the lead up to WW2. A time where people looked for reassurance from their King and broadcast over radio was becoming more and more ever present. It was important for one who represented Royalty to be well articulate and rehearsed in the skill of public speaking. George (Colin Firth) or ‘Bertie’, as he is better known for the most part, is stricken with a crippling stammer. His father has put his faith in him, to lead the country should he faultier, as George’s brother is a rebellious womanizer who is courting an other’s wife.
It begins on a live broadcast, where George delivers his first speech at Wembley stadium. The crowd is deadly silent and the walk to the podium is drawn out. The moment his first word hits the microphone every sound reverberates around, across all the speakers of the stadium, sending echo after echo back. You could feel the nerves trembling, with every pause his confidence drained away in the most cringe worthy of manners, disappointment and embarrassment flushed upon every one’s face. I thought this was an ingenious piece of direction.
Lionel, played by Geoffrey Rush, injects a great deal of vigor in to the proceedings. He is an instantly likable character, due to the earnestness which he adds. In truth, the King would be nothing without him. He is a failed actor who still longs to be part of theatre and teachers correctional stammer as a side. We see him auditioning for a bit part in British theatre just before he gets a visit from the George. There is a certain portrayal of kindness in everything he does and for me Rush actually stole the show. His unconventional teaching methods, do rather comically, lead to Bertie developing a useful form of Tourette’s. I have never heard a king drop so many ‘f’ bombs and ‘s’ turrets.
Guy Pearce deliverers a solid performance as the selfish brother Edward, who cares more for himself than anything. There is a certain pompous manner in which he holds himself, of which he is able to move back and forth between, in disingenuous moments.
Of course a film all about speech wouldn’t stand up if it were not for the lead’s performance. I generally find a difficultly in the believability of actors portraying characters with stammers. To me, it usually sounds forced, as if you can see the cogs turning in a persons head to add the stammer. But, somehow Firth pulls it off, with such believability that at points I found myself willing for him to get the words out. Colin Firth excels as ‘Bertie’. There is a great moment where he tries to talk some sense in to Edward, only for his brother to absolutely tongue tie him by pressing upon his speech. Firth almost chokes to get the words out.
The King’s Speech is an enthralling film, lifted by the strong performances of it’s cast and great direction to encapsulate the period.
movie rating: 4/5