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The White King (2016) HD online

The White King (2016) HD online
Language: English
Category: Movie / Drama / Sci-Fi
Original Title: The White King
Director: Alex Helfrecht,Jörg Tittel
Writers: György Dragomán,Alex Helfrecht
Released: 2016
Budget: £2,000,000
Duration: 1h 29min
Video type: Movie
Djata is a care-free 12-year-old growing up in a brutal dictatorship shut off from the outside world. When the government imprisons his father, Peter, and Djata and his mother Hannah are labeled traitors, the boy will not rest until he sees his father again.

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Credited cast:
Olivia Williams Olivia Williams - Sophia (voice)
Fiona Shaw Fiona Shaw - Kathrin Fitz
Jonathan Pryce Jonathan Pryce - Colonel Fitz
Greta Scacchi Greta Scacchi - General Meade
Ólafur Darri Ólafsson Ólafur Darri Ólafsson - Pickaxe
Agyness Deyn Agyness Deyn - Hannah
Clare-Hope Ashitey Clare-Hope Ashitey - Gaby
Ross Partridge Ross Partridge - Peter
Derek de Lint Derek de Lint - Silver Hair
Jeffrey Postlethwaite Jeffrey Postlethwaite - Romulus Frunza
Matthew Postlethwaite Matthew Postlethwaite - Remus Frunza
Björn Freiberg Björn Freiberg - Security Guard
Lorenzo Allchurch Lorenzo Allchurch - Djata
Declan Hannigan Declan Hannigan - Young Soldier
Louis Suc Louis Suc - Bruno

The film is based on György Dragomán's multiple award winning novel, but the story has been transposed to fictitious near-future dictatorship. Dragomán said this about the film: "In my original novel I wanted to show freedom in a society where freedom should not exist. In their movie Alex and Jörg were brave enough to take my communist childhood tale and adapt it into a modern story, showing us that the threat to freedom is as eternal as our fight for it."

Greta Scacchi and Olivia Williams worked together previously on Jane Austen Regrets / Brideshead Revisited.

Olivia Williams has lent her voice to Sophia, one of the world's most advanced humanoid robots created by Hong Kong based Hanson Robotics, a company founded by Dr. David Hanson, who previous worked as a sculptor and technical consultant at Disney Imagineering.

Kis Ádám, a well-known actor worked on this film.



Reviews: [25]

  • avatar

    Slowly writer

    This follows a family living in a totalitarian dystopia.

    This is a hard film for me to review.

    First off, its production is very good. The camera work and direction is great. The characters are very well constructed and the acting is absolutely top notch. The world is quickly and deftly painted using iconography and suggestion. The world is oppressive but not overly brutal making it feel more real and dangerous. I enjoyed every minute of the first hour greatly and was gripped to see what was going to happen.

    Here is the problem. Not much does happen. This film has plenty of story, but hardly any plot. Characters are introduced, and adversities befall our leads, but very little is resolved or explored. Any small victories the characters win aren't exploited.

    The only analogy I can think of is if you made a film about a waitress who works in a bar in Star Wars. Sure dancing girls are fed to monsters and Jedi come in - but at the end of the day you are still watching someone serve drinks.

    Maybe it is my personal taste, I thought I was more open minded than this, but it seems I do need a certain degree of resolution.

    I kept the mark high because of the quality of the film making - not sure if I would recommend it though.
  • avatar

    Enalonasa

    The film had me hooked, waiting for all the loose ends to be tied up.

    1) The twins - what happened to them?

    2) Where is this country?

    3) What is the meaning of all the technology in the General's house?

    4) Is it a world cut off from the outside, like in M Shyamalan's 'The Village'?

    5) How did the people get out of the building at the funeral?

    6) What did the father say to be labelled a traitor?

    So many more, and there was no sense of justice. The bad guys weren't punished. There was no resolution. And then it just abruptly ended.

    Would have been good as a first episode in a series but is too unfinished to be a film.

    An hour and a half of my life that I can't get back.
  • avatar

    Nicearad

    I saw this at the opening at EIFF For once a movie that shows us an adolescent understanding how propaganda can blind you, and standing up for himself in a believable real life scenario. No sci-fi gimmicks or ninjas here- which is a reason why it may not appeal to some people. But this is real life, and if you are 12, these are the means you have at your disposal. How propaganda and politician's lies can deceive us is very topical at the moment - in national and international politics. The narrative is at times disjointed and I was not sure if it reflected the episodic nature of the original novel or the disorientation of the child (an excellent Lorenzo Allchurch) facing the realisation his world is different from what he believes A particularly believable performance by Jonathan Pryce as the grandfather torn between duty and love.
  • avatar

    Bulace

    Potential. But I think it failed to convert from the book into a film. The backdrop with violent kids just rampaging, and no one paying attention to that, to the ending that offered nothing. I have no idea what the film was wanting to achieve. I think they wanted to make this a triple series but maybe realised it was just weak material and gave up. either that or the editor is owed his or her $500 fee and withheld the last 20 minutes of the film. Watch it or not it is one of those that won't make a difference. Sad really, had a lot of potential in there. I think you could have gone to 20 random people in the street and they could have made that 50% better
  • avatar

    Syleazahad

    The opening credits of The White King are some of the best I've ever seen. A brilliant animation hints at the world we're about to discover. Thankfully the film itself, does them total justice.

    It's 1984, it's Nazi Germany, it's north Korea. The society we enter is ruled by a brutal, fascist regime that tries to eke all joy from its people. What sets this film apart is the fact that it's seen through the eyes of a boy whose hope and humanity have not completely been shattered by those who dictate his future. Without revealing too much, the film explores the decisions he has to make and the relationships he keeps, when a close member of his family is accused of speaking out against the regime.

    It's an acting feast with a sterling debut from Lorenzo Allchurch who plays the main character alongside actors du jour Agnes Deyn and Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, with film royalty Jonathan Pryce and Greta Scacci.

    The film is beautifully directed. Country landscapes are bathed in the dreamy sunlight of a late summer's afternoon, in total contrast with the dark, oppressive ways of the White King dictatorship.

    It's the future and it's also the present; scarily reminiscent of the current political climate. But not without total hope. Go and see it!
  • avatar

    invasion

    I saw this film at a press screening at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. The only positive was that I didn't have pay to get in.

    This film was so bad, on so many levels, it was insulting. I'll confess not to having read the source material so it's impossible for me to know how well or otherwise the screenplay had been derived from the (apparently well-received) novel of the same name, but what can be said with certainty is that while the author has read 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' (as everyone should, of course), he's also plagiarised it. More of that later.

    The cartoon opening sequence which 'explained' the pass we find ourselves at at the start of the film itself screams 'NO BUDGET!' and while that's not a crime, it was so lazily done that immediately I thought of a simpler, equally inexpensive method of explaining the back story: a voice-over with titles, as was neatly demonstrated in 'Escape From New York'.

    Variants of 'lazy' kept coming back to me throughout. Case in point, the technical aspects of the film. While the cinematography was adequate, the audio jumped between ear-splitting and barely audible; the lighting was also erratic. The direction was incoherent at best and took us down numerous paths of irrelevance, while ignoring opportunities to take the viewer where they actually needed to go. There was no structure that I could discern.

    The worst offender was the screenplay. Completely lacking in any kind of narrative flow, it struck me as a very lazy piece of work – or incompetent, or a bit of both; take your pick. The ridiculous ending had the imprisoned father being driven from the scene of his father's funeral in an armoured car, with his son and wife running and cycling after it respectively. To what end? What were they going to do had they caught up with the armoured vehicle? The sight of the wife of the imprisoned pedalling furiously on the bike had a certain comedic value, I grant you, but I'm not sure this was the intention of the co-directors. All that was missing from this scene was the music 'Yakety Sax' (a.k.a. the music from The Benny Hill Show).

    Some of the performances were suspect. Agyness Deyn as the wife was actually quite good, but horribly miscast as the mother of the protagonist, the son – I initially assumed she was the son's big sister. The son, played by Lorenzo Allchurch, did not convince. His grandfather was played by Jonathan Pryce and his part as a 'loyal party man' was phoned in – and who can blame him when presented with dialogue of such poverty? When you compare his performance here with his epic turn in 'Brazil' it's impossible to believe this is the same actor.

    As to the plagiarism allegation, in one scene we see the son being urged by his grandfather to shoot a cat with a handgun. He's reluctant to do so despite his grandfather's cajoling, but eventually pulls the trigger and succeeds in killing the cat. The point of this scene, as I interpreted it, was to show that under a totalitarian state, results can be achieved if sufficient pressure is applied. This is an unashamed lift from the 'morning exercise' passage in 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' where, when directly addressed by the exercise instructor though his telescreen, Winston Smith is able to touch his toes 'for the first time in years'. How we're not expected to notice this obvious parallel is a mystery.

    Overall, the film was boring, nonsensical, technically inept and also hamstrung by that appalling screenplay, which came across as if the writer had better things to do. Well, if you're bringing your début feature to an internationally-renowned film festival for public scrutiny then, no, you don't have better things to do.

    The film's Facebook page trumpets that Ian Rankin tweeted that this film was a 'harrowing and timely story about ideology, indoctrination and the fragility of freedom'. Obviously I disagree with every word, but it's telling that Mr Rankin didn't say if he thought it was any good. Damning with faint praise, I suspect.

    This film deserves to sink without trace for its laziness, technical ineptitude and audience-insulting 'Oh, I reckon that'll do' leitmotif.

    EDIT: I was astonished to subsequently learn that TWK had a budget of $2m. In these straitened times, profligacy of this level should be a criminal offence.
  • avatar

    Wilalmaine

    I enjoyed this new film and also, as a small rule, I am generally really interested to see new directors'/producers work. Especially when the is a dearth of good stuff coming out of the established US/UK areas, well picked Edinburgh Film Festival!

    It was interesting and although one can see allusions, references etc to established works such as Orwell, Huxley and so on - well they do say there are only 7 stories in the world! - this is a new take on it.

    Loved the the boy lead actor, and Deyn (who I thought surprisingly good and natural) loved the cinematography and the story of a (particularly relevant today) dystopian society, there were others that also stood out, although I was a little surprised to see De Lint who I have not seen for a very long time on the big screen.

    Moody and thought provoking with one or two touches of brilliance. Not perfect (a first film n.b.) but the fact that I was engaged throughout says it all.
  • avatar

    Nenayally

    Four stars overall, but seven stars for the idea. Four stars because dialogue was hard to follow with no subtitles; poor enunciation; really poor audio level control, and that's coming from a person w/normal hearing. Seven stars for a dystopian future storyline similar to what China, Russia, North Korea, Turkey, Syria offer the world now (and the US kind of heading that way recently). A trickle down economy in which the wealthy and/or powered privileged keep the masses in line w/slogans w/nationalist religious fervor, and the scraps to keep them sustainable day-to-day. Personal expression of your dreams, etc. are reason for sanction or imprisonment. Appropriately, filmed out of Hungary.
  • avatar

    Blackworm

    The brash manner power is abused by those in control - the police raids, the deportations and work camps are obvious and understood by most, but even directors with first hand experience of dictatorships struggle to portray the true effect of oppressive regimes on everyday life. The White King managed to faithfully capture that sinister aspect; the slow yet terrifyingly unstoppable negativity that poisons every aspect of mundane life, the glacier-like pressure steadily suffocating intellect and depressing emotions for those living under a tyranny.

    The White King did not only get that foreboding - almost spiritual - darkness of everyday oppression right, but managed to capture the lights, sounds and general ambiance of life under a communist regime. It took me from watching a film to experiencing an engrossingly vivid daydream, a memory of my childhood as a Pioneer (The Communist Party's child division), growing up on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain.

    I left the film profoundly touched, with old memories unexpectedly resurfacing, making me realise once again, just how relevant stories like Animal Farm, 1984 and The White King are to our life today, in the modern democracies of the West.

    A splendid film for intelligent audiences.
  • avatar

    Beabandis

    The White King last night at Edinburgh's Film Festival offered its viewers a satisfyingly tense ride from its opening animated graphics to its tantalising ending. The film's subtle use of sometimes opposed and sometimes complimentary cinematic genres contributes to the viewers'engagement. The realism, fantasy, animation and science fiction combine forces to interrogate the choices made by young and old as they struggle or cave into the intransigent demands of a totalitarian state.

    An impressive all star cast for the Directors' first feature film includes Jonathan Pryce, Agyness Dean, Fiona Shaw, Olafur Darri Olafsson and Gretta Scacci and they offer a tremendous boost for the central performance for promising young actor Lorenzo Allchurch.

    Pryce used the Q&A session afterwards to highlight how the film'm themes resonate with the concerns of the Brexit debate, imploring the audience to vote 'Remain'!
  • avatar

    Hucama

    I love dystopian films and therefore I really enjoy this film, yes as some critics mentioned there are a few set pieces / stories that aren't fully explained (The robot or cave scene for example) but the viewer needs to take this as a part of the overall world the film is set in. Why is the state depraving his citizen of wealth or technology? what happen to people that rebel, how to survive? what is freedom? all these questions are viewed from the young main protagonist that is delivering a really good performance. A film that makes you think is always a good thing, a film that doesn't have an happy ending is also always better...
  • avatar

    kolos

    This was a visually a stunning film about a charmed Dystopian world filmed on location I think in Hungary. Uncomfortable to watch through the innocent boys' eyes as he realizes all is not as it seems..... Very good acting from young newcomer and all the cast - some terrifying twins like something out of Mad Max. Jonathan Pryce always hits this characters spot on. Agyness Deyn very natural. Strangely topical in our current climate in 2017... Who really knows what is what and of course, a child sees things differently. Never read the book, which clearly has undertones of 1984 and other classics.A great first film from a new producing/writing/directing team.
  • avatar

    YSOP

    This is a heartfelt and touching story of a boy growing up in an unnamed totalitarian state. (I'm not an expert on this but was reminded of Stalinist propaganda). He and his mother try to find his father after he's taken away (as a clear dissident), trying to enlist his grandfather (a patriot of the regime) and finally appealing to the regime itself. It's also a coming of age story as the boy's eyes are opened gradually to the state he's living in.

    It's beautifully designed and shot and the boy and his mother (Agyness Deyn) give terrific performances. A first feature which has had time, love and attention poured into it and a lovely gem of a film - deserves to be widely seen.
  • avatar

    Cenneel

    I am always a fan of any film that portrays a bleak future or alternative, and this film provides.

    Telling the story of a boy whose Dad is taken away for being a 'traitor' may seem a slight cliché, but this does not follow that predictable path. Through showing the story through the pov of the child, you see glimpses of different threads that hint at other sub-stories, which then linger on the mind longer than if they were explained and told in full.

    A very thoughtful film, with some great cinematography showing off stunning locations and def worth watching. The ending should make anyone think long-after, unless you are the lazy sort who wants it all wrapped up nicely for you.
  • avatar

    Vivados

    I was fortunate enough to get to see a screening of The White King and can't say enough about it. And given the current political mood here in the U.S., it is particularly relevant. I've seen plenty of dystopian films in my time, but The White King was refreshing in that directors Alex Helfrecht & Jorg Tittle chose to go against the typical non-stop violent, action genre to tell their story. As a matter of fact, the cinematography by Rene Richter and production design by Richard Bullock were some of the most beautiful I've seen. Not to mention the haunting original score by Joanna Bruzdowicz. Helfrecht and Tittel cast the film with some of the best British actors today— Jonathan Pryce, Fiona Shaw, Aggy Deyn and Greta Scacchi. 13 year old newcomer, Lorenzo Allchurch, given the task of carrying an entire film, skillfully rose to the occasion. I was actually moved to tears a few times throughout. I also appreciated the ending, which again, doesn't give into "what's expected." You can tell that the filmmakers had a vision and didn't compromise which is so refreshing. If you get the chance to see this film, I HIGHLY recommend you do.
  • avatar

    Made-with-Love

    If the purpose of a film is to entertain, then clearly this does not qualify. this is supposed to be the future, as seen through the eyes of those who brought it to the screen. a society that (in the main) have no transport, no TV and everything is "state" controlled, so each word and action is monitored and those who step out of line simply disappear either to a prison or worse. Greta Scaatchi is a lesbian General which makes things ever worse. Not seen a film as bad as this for many years and it does not have any form of a conclusion. PANTS in short!
  • avatar

    snowball

    This is a low budget, low-action, dystopian recycled story, apparently filmed in or near Hungary, with good british acting. I don't recommend it, even to dystopia fans. It's STAND BY ME meets 1984 / HANDMAID'S TALE et al. There's little there, there.
  • avatar

    Friert

    Unlike most movies today which rely on explosions and gunfire to tell a narrative The White King sends a powerful message of hope and a warning for the future. I read Gyorgy Dragoman's book of the same name and loved it and this film is masterfully adapted to movie format, retaining the feel of adventure and yet the all-seeing presence of a dangerous dystopian state. It must be said, however, there are some moments when the film does not know what it wants to be, Sci-fi? Drama? But it is directed well enough that the movie moves briskly and is enjoyable. The cast all work well together on camera and all put in good performances. The chemistry of Deyn and the boy, Allchurch, was moving and carried the film beautifully. The visuals are amazing and Rene Richter captures the Hungarian landscapes beautifully. The CGI, used sparingly, is good especially in a scene where we look over some futuristic buildings. Some people may complain that we do not see enough of the brutal state but I believe that that is not the point of the film it is about the family and the glimpses of the regime we get are satisfying and remind you of the threat. The final scene is powerful and moving as we see that truly "the hardest thing to break is the human spirit".
  • avatar

    Hystana

    My wife and I caught this indi dystopian adventure at the Edinburgh Film Festival this year and were glad that we did.

    There are some excellent performances from a cast featuring new faces and established veterans.

    Without wanting to give too much away, the story is about a boy trying to make his way in a brutal totalitarian state, the location of which is never specified. The directors strike a good balance between the hopelessness of the boy's situation and the touching wide-eyed optimism that he faces it with

    I particularly enjoyed the music in this film and would love to see the score appear on Spotify sometime.

    Some beautiful cinematography helps to make the film all the more watchable

    I really hope this makes it out to a wider audience as it could be set to be a cult classic!
  • avatar

    Kelezel

    The White King is dark, surreal yet very real at the same time. A dystopian fantasy where there's no uprising, no large scale rebellion to overthrow the evil despot. As such it is a refreshing and unique film but if you are looking for another Hunger Games probably best to go elsewhere.

    There's strong performances from a quality cast but special mention must go to newcomer Lorenzo Allchurch (Djata) who is in every frame and carries the film with a multi-layered and moving performance.

    Some scenes may seem a little disjointed and unresolved but you can see how everything that is happening has an effect on Djata and lead to a powerful and deeply affecting ending.
  • avatar

    Hallolan

    This movie is simply put amazing. In a near future dystopian society could look like. This movie has been put on my list of the movies to see in 2017. Independent cinema it it's best. Djata a 12 year old boy from a lower class family that are labeled as traitors after his father is put in prison. Djata caught in the middle between his mother and his grand parents on his fathers side he must try to find a way to see his father again.
  • avatar

    Kajishakar

    I wasted an my time watching this.. waited for the good parts to come..which never came. I can handle anti communist propaganda, like I can handle anti capitalist propaganda..but a movie that has nothing to offer from a story perspective other that some age old cliche about powerless being oppressed and oppressed and oppressed... thats it.. :-( , does not deserve an audience. there is no analysis, there is no justification, there is no other point of view.. there is no..view.. absolutely nothing...a completely boring and empty movie.
  • avatar

    Peras

    Dystopian visions in movies now have a lot to live up to, especially given the perfection of The Handmaid's Tale and the success of The Hunger Games. There are quite a lot of them out there, Equals being a good recent one. The pressure is on to get the balance right, and The White King doesn't disappoint. Its success lies with its focus being on a small boy's view of the world, and also the perceived relevance of such a dystopian vision to today. The story of the boy, a brilliantly cast actor in an award performance, is tremendous and inspiring, which is also a salute to his story, which I felt was both gritty and original. He doesn't just roll with the punches, but punches back. The mother is also gritty, also punching back. The scenario is set 30 years into the future which is well thought out, balancing possible political and global trends against technology, represented here by good use of props, backdrops and graphics. One could also see a comparison to Stand By Me here. There is a scary nod to 1984 as well. Terrific supporting cast. I looked into the special features on my dvd and noticed the majority of the brilliantly cast actors were British or Irish, and yet this tale takes place in an American heartland. That's interesting. This is a very interesting movie, and one in which it was very easy to get lost in, and be very moved.
  • avatar

    Ariurin

    I tend to very much dislike this kind of film-- only because it is so realistically disturbing. This isn't science fiction; it is foresight of grim possibilities. Yet it is reasonably well done.

    The White King is a very dark tale of dystopian future in a Nazi-like society resulting from common people giving power to a militaristic totalitarian regime. Clues indicate the country was once free and open. No one expected what was it was capable of becoming. The story provides stern warning about what any government can become given blind trust and limitless authority.

    We are not told in the film where this takes place. But enough hints are provided to make one realize this is not Russia, Red China or other lands that have been despotic for centuries and continue so to this day. This was once a shining, "free" society that turned to darkness via a vocal / hysterical minority forcing their views on others until they had cowered everyone else into submission. The strong hint that this could be the United States or Australia presents an intentional cautionary tale to the audience.

    The movie's tale is summarized in the animated opening credits. The core of society is ethics, morality and the family unit. When these things are sidestepped, ignored, disrupted for personal-agenda beliefs, no matter how right that society thinks it may be, the freedom-of-beliefs which guarded that society fall one by one until the will of the minority becomes public opinion, hysteria, mass enforcement and finally dictatorship and totalitarianism.

    This lesson has been seen time and again throughout history. But now, today, we see modern first-world countries taking steps in the same direction, on a world-wide basis. Those who think "this would never happen here" fail to understand that is exactly what many Germans thought while Hitler crept into power.

    Reigns of terror begin with people's willingness to abandon their beliefs and standards in cowardly submission to those more vocal and repressive. This film portrays that from behind-the-scenes, and does so quite well. While it didn't strike me personally as being an exceptional film due to lack of high points and a considerably weak ending (thus the lower stars), the message it provides is clear: those who enforce their beliefs and opinions upon others pave the way for those who enslave.
  • avatar

    Fiarynara

    This film is exquisite! Dystopia through the eyes of a child and the effect it has on him directly. The film moved me. The acting was spot on. The story was mature. AND the cinematography was vivid and lush. It also made my skin crawl as a citizen of a future dystopia=USA. The characters (and thoughtful ending) are what really resonate. Obviously this is for anyone who loves/likes the Hunger Games but this is smarter in many ways and more subtle...and more ambiguous...it the right way. This film makes me continue to love Jonathan Pryce very much. BUT Lorenzo Allchurch as Djata is a true discovery. He simmers and shines in this. His acting is superb and I could see him as the star of many Angry Young Man films in the future. Strong work by the Directors all around.