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The King of the Belgians is on a state visit in Istanbul when his country falls apart. He must return home at once to save his kingdom. But a solar storm causes airspace and communications to shut down. No planes. No phones. With the help of a British filmmaker and a troupe of Bulgarian folk singers, the King and his entourage manage to escape over the border. Incognito. Thus begins an odyssey across the Balkans during which the King discovers the real world - and his true self. Written by
This was an extremely likable film. A funny, lighthearted mocumentary that will not offend anyone. (The film's mildness and utter correctness reminds me of the effects of genetic in-breeding of royal families, producing respectable, yet bland, monarchs.) That is both its best, and worst, quality. The idea for the film's narrative is so out-of-this-world that it is surprising to learn that it stemmed out of real events for the films co-creators. Like they say, fact is stranger than fiction.
The film is an extremely fun ride. I loved the documentary-style camera-work they achieved for the film: on-the-fly shots; off-kilter framing; shaky hand-held panning; and supposedly off-the-cuff set- ups. This not only permeates the mocumentary itself, we see it as an outrageous sendup at the start of the film when the royally- commissioned documentary is being made before the chaos starts. Loved the valet with the lint remover -- "ok, let's do it again."
(2) Score the different elements of the film objectively, 1 to 4, and explain your ratings.
Script/Story: 3 - excellent narrative. Loved the mocumentary conceit; the wacky travel log; the delightful Balkan country folk, from the sexy Ana with her tasting finger to the blind-tasting Yogurt crew. And am particularly delighted to learn that the co- writers/co-directors simply wrote a skeletal narrative structure and pretty much had the people casts play themselves!
Cinematography/Visual Effects: 2.5, fun. See my comment above re camera-work
Editing: 2; needs to be somewhat sharper. Loved the intimate, long-lasting shots of the King in deep contemplation. Very effective for the meaning of the film.
Sound Effects: 2, adequate
Musical Score: 1; enough of Grieg's "Peer Gynt Suite"
Performances: 2.5; I particularly loved the blandness, elegance and nobility from the actor portraying the King. Extremely measured, he showed a genuine interest in people, goodness, and doing the right thing. Wish all royals were this way.
Production Design: Sets, Locations, Costumes, etc.: 2.5; the Balkans looked fun, fitting the narrative.
(3) Would you recommend this movie to a friend? Give your reasons.
Yes, a very entertaining film and quite well made. My favorite fact about this film comes from the director's comment that the best way to comment on today's tumultuous political climate is through humor. Thumbs up.
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