Posted at 10:38 AM on June 23, 2006
by Euan Kerr
"The King" is a disturbing little movie filled with twists and turns. Some of those sudden reversals are all the more jarring because when you look back it was pretty clear something bad was about to go down.
The plot follows Elvis, a young man recently discharged from the US Navy, who goes in search of a father he has never met. Elvis, played by Mexican star Gael Garcia Bernal, knows exactly where to look: a prosperous church in Corpus Christi Texas where his unsuspecting father, David Sandow, is pastor.
Their first meeting does not go well as Sandow (William Hurt in a magnificent "friendly mutton-chops") tells Elvis that it's not convenient for them to talk. He further explains that his relationship with Elvis's mother was at a time when he was a sinner, and now that he has been saved his family and life are already clearly defined.
What the Pastor doesn't realize as he is laying out how he sees his life (which obviously does not include Elvis,) he is actually redefining his future in ways he could not have predicted.
Like the whole of this production Gael Garcia Bernal is very low key. He rarely displays any emotion, and it's almost impossible to guage what Elvis is thinking about as the story develops.
That's what makes this movie so creepy.
When he falls in with the pastors 16 year old daughter Malerie (Pell James) her quiet desparation to escape the restrictions of her life makes Elvis's stone face all the more disturbing.
This is a film about when people take responsibility for their actions, and how other people can become innocent victims for crimes long passed. It's not a cheery movie, but Bernal, Hurt and James make it interesting watching. (And look out for a brief appearance by Michigan native and TWin Cities cult favorite rocker, Ike Reilly.)
Think this could be a hidden hit? The blockbusters this year aren't feeling very "blockbuster", if that makes any sense.
I'd be surprised if that happens to this particular film. "Clerks II" maybe?