'The King' sees Timothée Chalamet play a decent Henry V but Robert Pattinson's antagonistic Dauphin steals the show
The following article contains spoilers
‘The King’, Netflix’s medieval drama based on the life of King Henry V is mostly a snoozefest, with the exception of Robert Pattinson. Pattinson who plays the role of the Dauphin (heir apparent to the throne of France) is absolutely delightful from the moment he is introduced till the moment he meets a rather goofy death.
His French accent when he speaks in English sounds like Steve Martin’s Inspector Jacques Clouseau trying to say “Hamburger”. He is wicked -- like Joffrey Baratheon from ‘Game of Thrones’ wicked. But that isn’t all.
In a film where little is explained, a lack of explanation for Pattinson’s character makes sense, given that he is one of the main villains. Because the movie is from the point of view of Henry V, we can take it for granted that the Dauphin would be evil for evil’s sake, even if he may not have been that.
He exists on-screen to scare Henry V, who arrives in France to invade the kingdom. He is, for lack of a better word, an arrogant jerk and Pattinson truly embodies that idea.
He makes fun of Henry V by gifting him a ball on the day of his coronation. He talks about killing English soldiers with an insane kind of lust. And he makes fun of the English king’s “tiny c**k”.
It is as if the purpose of his very existence is to taunt everything the quiet and dignified king of England stands for. And apparently, most of this was just Pattinson having fun with the role.
Speaking to Variety, the film’s director, David Michôd, said, “Pretty much in ways that I fully 100% endorse and love, that character is a Robert Pattinson creation." He added, “The great fear always is that you end up with ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ and ridiculous French accents. But at the same time, I kind of needed his character to be kind of absurd.”
“His whole purpose is to be a jerk and to just torment Timmy [Timothée Chalamet],” Michôd said. “So I kind of needed him to be a larger-than-life jerk. He needed to be ridiculous. He needed not to have a lot of substance underneath him. He’s just there to annoy.”
The trick works. Because while the rest of the film elicits little reaction, Pattinson’s Dauphin comes out more alive than anything else in the few scenes he’s in, especially the scene where he meets his tragicomic end.
The Dauphin arrives at the battleground when lots of men on both sides have already died. He looks at an exhausted Henry V and challenges him to a one-on-one fight. After flexing his swordsmanship, the Dauphin ultimately succumbs to the sticky mud in a rainswept Agincourt.
He was killed by English soldiers even before he manages to stand up, but not before he has tripped a few times. Perhaps Michôd should have made a film on him and not Henry V. Chalamet was good, but it was Pattinson who stole the show.
‘The King’ is available for streaming on Netflix.