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The King (2005)
USA / English
"The devil made me do it. "
A troubled man, recently discharged from the Navy, goes to Corpus Christi, Texas, in search of the father he's never met.
Gael García Bernal Elvis Valderez
Derek Alvarado Scoot
E. Matthew Buckley Deck Officer (as Matthew Buckley)
Monica Peña Tuxedo Manager (as Monica Pena)
Veronica Bernal Elvis' Girl
Billy Joe Martinez Mexican Salesman
Mohammad Ahmed Mr. Chopra
Pell James Malerie Sandow
Sally Allen PA
Paul Dano Paul Sandow
Laura Harring Twyla Sandow
William Hurt Pastor David Sandow
Roger Kunshick Young Man with Flower
Ike Reilly Rum Jungle Singer
Milo Addica Bruno
Director: James Marsh
Producer: Milo Addica,James Wilson
Writer: Milo Addica,James Marsh
Bernal's quiet intensity holds the film together
Hard to recommend, or enjoy, this film due to its unlikable subject matter; incest, betrayal, hatred, religious fervor, murder, and isolation are some of the more disturbing themes examined in THE KING.

Yet I did find myself enraptured with it, and that was mainly due to the performances. Spanish heartthrob Gael Garcia Bernal (Motorcycle Diaries, Amores Perros) simply captivates as Elvis, a recently discharged Marine who heads to Texas to reconnect with the father he never knew. But his father, fundamentalist preacher David Sandow (William Hurt) has no intentions of welcoming his illegitimate child, born out of wedlock to a Mexican woman "before he was saved", into his current family. That's when the cold, calculating Elvis sets his plan into motion, one that involves seducing his 16-year-old stepsister (Pell James in a remarkable per-formance),eliminating his bothersome stepbrother, and eventually bringing the entire family to an untimely end.

As I said, tough subject matter to like, but the engrossing performances make the difficult topics easier to digest. Bernal's take on the sadistic psychopath role is refreshing, as he uses his good looks, disarming smile and smoldering eyes to convey sympathy that belies his intentions. Hurt has rarely been better as the preacher who uses religion to cover his sins; his turnaround with Elvis after his other son "disappears" is alarming and speaks volumes about his character's true self. James is magnetic playing the innocent waif who falls for the conniving trick played by Elvis, and when she learns the truth her reaction nearly brought me to tears. Even the underdeveloped role by Laura Herring (Mulholland Drive) as the wife carries weight, although she was used much too little.

All in all a fascinating look at some difficult subjects that was made watchable by the actors involved. And while I cannot recommend the film, it has some attributes that will make it difficult to forget.

Seen it:Nej
Nr of disks/tapes:1
Storage device:Divx 4
Imdb rating: 6.7
Musician: Max Avery Lichtenstein
Running time: 105 min
Everything else:
Last modified: 2007-07-18 22:31:3