King's Speech, The : King's Speech DVD Review

Title: The King’s Speech
Director: Tom Hooper
Script: David Seidler
Starring: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pierce
Music: Alexandre Desplat
Released: 09 May 2011
Duration: 118 minutes

Despite being a linguistics graduate and having once considered speech therapy as a career choice I still felt that The King’s speech would probably be a fairly unexciting, dull film. Yes, yes, I know it won Oscars and I know it stars Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush, but I just thought it wouldn’t be all that fun to watch. Of course I was totally wrong. The King’s Speech is an excellent film with two outstanding performances from its leading men.

Based on the true story of King George VI’s battle to overcome the speech defect of stammering clearly due to his borderline abusive father and siblings The King’s Speech is touching and personal. It examines the relationship between (King George VI), otherwise known as Bertie, (Firth) and his unconventional, but brilliant and immensely talented, speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Rush). As the threat of a Second World War grows and Bertie’s brother abdicates the throne Bertie must discover his hidden voice to inspire the nation. The film charts his progress from being virtually unable to speak in company to giving a near-flawless and rousing wartime speech.

Firth and Rush are both truly Oscar-worthy both making the characters their own whilst also creating a believable relationship between themselves which is totally absorbing. The result is wonderful and compelling drama that entertains from beginning to end.

The supporting cast including Derek Jacobi perform well but barely make an impression on the film as they are given very little screen time. Helena Bonham Carter is the exception having just enough screen time and decent lines to make an impact. Guy Pierce, as the abdicating King Edward VIII, and Timothy Spall, as Winston Churchill, are also underused. Having said that had they been given more screen time, would it have resulted in either an over-long film, or else detracted from the relationship between Bertie and Logue? Yes, unfortunately I think so. Perhaps the director made a good choice here.

Reportedly produced for a mere 8M this film has grossed over $400M and is not doubt set to increase that amount significantly with DVD and Blu-ray sales.

Writer David Seidler and Director Tom Hooper insisted on historical accuracy and in an interview on the special features with Lionel Logue's grandson it seems in his opinion at least that the finished product was indeed very good. Logue’s diary containing his original notes regarding the treatment of Bertie. The direction is very good light enough in all the right places to allow the actors to produce their own performances and strict enough in other places to make sure everything is authentic.

Extra features include a feature length director commentary with Tom Hooper, an inspirational story of an unlikely friendship The making of The King’s Speech, an interview with Mark Logue, and real audio files of speeches from the real King George VI.

Author : Kevin Stanley