DVD Release: The King’s Speech, A Post-Oscar Opinion

The 2010 best picture winner The King’s Speech will be released this Tuesday on DVD and Blu-Ray.

Was it the best movie of 2010?

Not really.

Each frame in The King’s Speech is something special, courtesy of cinematographer Danny Cohen. I could be wrong but it looks as though the whole movie was shot with a very wide angle lens. Even scenes with Geoffrey Rush and Colin Firth just sitting in a room talking in their British accents look larger than life thanks to this technique.  

Wide Angle Lens = Oscar

Is the story good?

Sure, it’s fine. A true account of Loveable King George VI overcoming a speech impediment. What’s not to like? Colin Firth won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Was it deserving? Maybe by default. Let’s face it, the only one on par with his caliber this year was Javier Bardem. Firth certainly wasn’t going to lose to Jesse Eisenberg or James Franco. Jeff Bridges was good but not good enough for consecutive wins. Firth’s performance was tasteful. A lesser actor would have seen the speech impediment tick as an opportunity to over act. Colin Firth is not the most exciting actor working today, however – his subtlety could also be viewed as a handicap.

Geoffrey Rush is pretty good in this film. Not in the same ballpark with his performances in Quills, Shine, or The Life and Death of Peter Sellers but it’s nevertheless something to rave about. Great acting by Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce and Jennifer Ehle as well

.Tom Hooper, this past year’s Best Director at the Oscars does a bang-up job with the actors but didn’t really show us anything new in style and tone. As previously mentioned the wide angle lenses were a nice touch, but in comparison to the masterfully directed The Social Network this one didn’t quite hit the mark of the more current cinematic masterpieces that have recently won the best picture Oscar, like The Departed, No Country for Old Men, or even last year’s winner The Hurt Locker

I won’t be adding this film to my collection but if I find it flipping through channels one night I’d give it a second viewing. My advice is if you haven’t seen The Social Network, The Fighter, Blue Valentine, or Black Swan, then it’d be safe to skip this one until you do. If I were to make a top ten list of movies in 2010, this one would be towards the bottom.

I didn’t cry. I didn’t get excited. And I wasn’t truly blown away by any of the acting or directing.

Why did it win best picture, then, over The Social Network? Who knows? I guess we can chalk it up to the Academy getting it wrong again, like they did with Crash, Ordinary People, How Green was my Valley and countless others. It baffles me how a movie like Midnight Cowboy can win Best Picture in 1969 but The Social Network loses to a glorified BBC costume drama in 2011. There couldn’t be a better suited film to define the year than The Social Network. A lot of critics are writing it off, saying the Academy is just made up of old people and that innovation is lost on them. That can’t be true. Remember three years ago when There will be Blood and No Country for Old Men were on the same ballot? Or the fact that they nominated Robert Downey Jr. for playing a black man two years ago? It’s not political either. In the 70s when George C. Scott and Marlon Brando denounced their respective best actor Oscar for Patton and The Godfather they were both nominated again the very next year. Clearly that decision was based on the quality of their performances in The Hospital and Last Tango in Paris

.I guess we’ll never know how the Oscar machine works and in that sense the broadcast will always be unpredictable, albeit in a sometimes irritating fashion.

All bitterness aside, The King’s Speech is an undeniably good movie. Winning best picture wasn’t it’s only merit. It scored a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes and did something like $400 million at the box office. Which means both critics and audiences alike must’ve loved it. Just not my cup of tea, but whatevs.

(c) Mickey Reece All rights reserved. Mickey Reece is the director of “Country Singer” and “The Seducer’s Club,” and he’s currently at work on a film about an Oklahoma guy trying to find a mom for his son. Contact Mickey through the email.


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