The King

4.5 2
Director: James Marsh

Cast: Gael García Bernal, William Hurt, Paul Dano


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A young man exacts a thorough revenge against the father who abandoned him in this independent drama. Elvis (Gael García Bernal) is a young man in his early twenties who, after finishing a hitch in the Navy, learns that his biological father was Pastor David Sandow (William Hurt), a man of the cloth who


A young man exacts a thorough revenge against the father who abandoned him in this independent drama. Elvis (Gael García Bernal) is a young man in his early twenties who, after finishing a hitch in the Navy, learns that his biological father was Pastor David Sandow (William Hurt), a man of the cloth who has never taken responsibility for siring a child out of wedlock. Elvis travels to Corpus Christi, TX, to confront Sandow about his past; the pastor asks Elvis to let him break the news to his wife and children himself, and assures the young man he wants to stay in contact with him. Elvis, however, prefers to handle matters in his own way. First Elvis sets his sights on Malerie (Pell James), the pastor's teenage daughter, and after winning her trust, takes the girl's virginity. Malerie soon discovers she's pregnant, and after her older brother Paul (Paul Dano) sees Elvis slipping out of the house following a liason with the girl, he confronts the seducer and is stabbed and killed. Elvis manages to cover his tracks cleanly enough that no one is certain Paul is dead. Next, Elvis goes to great lengths to ingratiate himself with Sandow, and despite the objections of his wife (Laura Harring), the pastor eventually invites the man who killed his son and violated his daughter to live under the same roof with his family. The King was the first dramatic feature from director James Marsh, who previously distinguished himself in documentaries.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Velocity / Thinkfilm
Region Code:

Special Features

16:9 widescreen; Deleted scenes; Rehearsal scene; 5.1 Dolby Digital ; Filmmaker commentary featuring writer/producer Milo Addica and writer/director James Marsh; Trailer gallery; Theatrical trailer; Spanish subtitles; Closed captioned

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gael García Bernal Elvis Sandow
William Hurt Pastor David Sandow
Paul Dano Paul Sandow
Pell James Malerie Sandow
Laura Elena Harring Twyla Sandow

Technical Credits
James Marsh Director,Screenwriter
Milo Addica Producer,Screenwriter
Eigil Bryld Cinematographer
Budd Carr Musical Direction/Supervision
Jinx Godfrey Editor
Hopkins-Smith-Barden Casting
Lee Hunsaker Costumes/Costume Designer
Max Lichtenstein Score Composer
Angela Lloyd Associate Producer
Sharon Lomofsky Production Designer
Mack Melson Sound/Sound Designer
Tom Paul Sound/Sound Designer
Edward R. Pressman Executive Producer
Maureen A. Ryan Associate Producer
John Schmidt Executive Producer
John Schmidt Executive Producer
Sofia Sondervan Executive Producer
Tim Brown Asst. Director
James Wilson Producer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The King [Subtitulos En Español]
1. Opening Credits [8:45]
2. Leaving Church [6:06]
3. New Job [5:03]
4. Intelligent Desire [7:13]
5. So Beautiful [8:37]
6. Back in God's House [8:01]
7. Suspicion [4:20]
8. Extreme Measures [4:19]
9. Questions [7:57]
10. Lord, I'm Sorry [5:13]
11. What to Do? [10:23]
12. Don't Be Selfish [3:16]
13. House Guest [7:05]
14. New Introductions [6:11]
15. Revelations [6:07]
16. End Credits [4:34]


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The King 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was happy to come across this film due to Bernal and after viewing this it certainly left me unsettled. This story revolves around a very unsavory topic with very unlikable (albeit well played) characters. The director has chosen to deal with the films events in a very blunt manner and it as result does not make it a very enjoyable viewing. To no surprise, Gael Garcia Bernal, Pell James, Paul Dano and Laura Harring are all convincing in their respective roles, as well. For some reason though, this film reminded me of Gus van Sant's "Elephant": the absurdity of Reality (cinéma réalité). In here we found the main character is discharged from the Navy, Elvis (Gael Garcia Bernal) who travels to Corpus Christi, buys a '69 Cougar and visits a church. He flirts with sixteen-year-old Malerie (Pell James), daughter of the minister, David (William Hurt). The minister learns that Elvis is his son, rejects him and Elvis goes on to secretly pursue a heated sexual relationship with the girl who becomes pregnant. After this, the story inexplicably takes a much darker turn. Surprisingly, the treatment of religious fundamentalism is not heavy handed. But once revealed, Bernal's character is confusing, reprehensible and difficult to explain. Elvis takes responsibility for his actions and is clearly a sensitive, caring person, but an understanding of his horrific behavior is never remotely attempted. His schizophrenic turns are as thoughtless and empty as the rest of this valueless and we are never given an ample history about Elvis' background and perhaps the filmmakers wanted us to fear him for that reason. What’s also confusing is the musical score, to me it somehow sounds displaced through out the film but perhaps I am wrong or I’m just being a little too picky. I think the movie could have gone just a little more at the end, gone a little darker perhaps, and accentuated the final effect that much more. While it works at the same time because of its constraint... my guess is that if it were redone it would dwell on longer and more closely scrutinize Hurt's face, even just freeze for some time there. Anyway, “The King” does make an impression on the viewer and it certainly did with me. This film is a must-see if (and I’m stressing that word IF) you are a Hurt and Bernal fans!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago