Movie Reviews

Kings – A Superfluous Telling of An Important Story

I missed this film back at last year’s TIFF, however, is now slowly being released. It has Halle Berry and Daniel Craig but will it be good?

Synopsis: Millie is a hardworking, tough and protective single mother with an affection for homeless children. She already has eight children living in her house and will soon bring home another. Her neighbor Obie is the local loose cannon, and the only white man in an area largely inhabited by African Americans, Latinos, and Koreans. With racial tensions running dangerously high, Millie and Obie would appear to be unlikely allies. Yet following the acquittal of four of the officers accused of beating Rodney King, these two must navigate the gathering chaos in the city to bring Millie’s kids home safely. (The Orchard)

Starring: Halle BerryDaniel Craig, and Lamar Johnson

Writer: Deniz Gamze Ergüven

Director: Deniz Gamze Ergüven

Rating: 14A (Canada)/R (United States)

Running Time: 92mins

Trailer: 

For showtimes and more, check out Kings on movietimes.com.

Just like Detroit did last year, this film shines a light on another racially-charged event in American history, the L.A. riots of the early 1990s following the acquittal of four LAPD officers accused of beating Rodney King. The problem with this film was that it took a long time to get going and it’s short running time of over 90 minutes didn’t quite help. The story was about a single mother named Millie (Berry) with an affinity for homeless children and her neighbor Obie (Craig), the only white man in a predominately minority neighborhood.

The story didn’t matter all that much as most will be waiting for the riots to happen. While not necessarily bad, all these subplots served as distractions and didn’t go anywhere for the most part. The characters spent most of the film living their lives while their community crumbled around them. Instead of hitting the root of the issues, the film only kept us at arms length throughout so we never got to experience the full impact of what was happening around them other than an excessive amount of yelling.

What the film did right, however, was the riot sequence. It was definitely tense to watch even with the weaker subplots finding their way in but we were still kept at arms length thus lessening its emotional impact. The cinematography was great here at keeping up with the action. Mellie and Obie were compelling to watch whenever they were on screen which wasn’t nearly as often as one would expect after getting top billing here. This was disappointing as their part here was the best.

The acting was good for the most part despite the slow and unfocused story. Berry and Craig were the obvious standouts as Mellie and Obie respectively and were good in the limited time they had, more so for Craig. Mellie wasn’t an original character by any means but overcomes it because of Berry’s likability. Craig did what he could with an underdeveloped character. He’s proven that he is capable of doing an American accent after Logan Lucky, however, his accent here was inconsistent at best. Though he and Berry had decent chemistry, there wasn’t nearly enough of them here.

Overall, this was a decent film that is both unfocused and takes too long to get going thanks to a superfluous story that fails to explore the issues with any depth which its short running time only exacerbates. What will surely be a disappointment to some, Berry and Craig were good but they weren’t on screen nearly as much as you would expect with being top billed.

Score: 7/10

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