To Kill a KingAfter four years of sitting on the shelf, the 17th century drama To Kill a King is finally hitting stores. Although it’s no masterpiece, it’s still surprising that the film sat around for that long without being released. First time screenweriter Jenny Mayhew has penned a fairly solid script examining the effects of Cromwell’s Revolution on England and director Mike Barker turned it into a well-produced, well-acted period piece.

Dougray Scott and Tim Roth are compelling as Lord General Thomas Fairfax and General Oliver Cromwell, respectively. Olivia Williams doesn’t have much more to do than sob throughout the film, so she never really gets a chance to shine. And Rupert Everett makes the most of his few scenes, declaring his god-given right to rule as king with an eerie determination.

The story meanders a bit, and could actually have benefitted from a longer running time with more plot development. Although we do get to know Cromwell and Fairfax, there are still some unexamined aspects of their relationship. The film also feels a bit one-sided as we see Fairfax as a conflicted hero and Cromwell as an overzealous power-fiend. Time is taken to work through the Parliamentary process, which is good, but not enough time is spent on the after-effects of the king’s beheading, which might have helped the conclusion of the film be a bit more meaningful.

And the DVD cover is a bit misleading, implying a little more action than the film provides. There’s no burning castle and charging Fairfax in the film… and why is Rupert Everett’s King Charles I on the cover with a sword in hand when all he does in the film is sit in his chambers making demands? These details aren’t really that important, but the cover art is still a bit questionable.

Zach’s Rating: B-
Perfect For: Those who enjoy fictionalized history lessons
Stay Away if: You don’t need another period piece
Watch For: Rupert Everett’s wide-eyed King Charles I in court

To purchase To Kill a King, visit Amazon

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