1645 After years of civil war, King Charles I is overthrown and two heroes have emerged Lord General Thomas Fairfax and his best friend and deputy General Oliver Cromwell. Their friendship isthreatened when Fairfax and his wife conspire to return the King to power, and Cromwell instead orders his execution, seizing control. His armies spread violence and fear throughout the country, andFairfax realizes Cromwell must be stopped, and their bond as two comrades-at-arms irreparably broken.
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Customer review from the Amazon Vineâ¢ Program (What's this?) The costumes are great, the acting is first class and the plotis well done. I only see the failure to cast Cromwell as the giant he obviously was. He was nearly a century ahead of his timeand his eventual failure led to bloody King George against who we fought the American Revolutionary war. One man can make a great difference,but it takes more than one to make it stick.It seems from my history that there was degenerate corruption on both sides. Here Fairfax takes that symbol,but royalty has ever degenerated. In the face of cultural decay,as the Romans, Republics have often gone to kings.Education, backbone and courage are not found in most men of the mob.At least Cromwell made the effort to be better than the past.The Stuarts were mostly weak and bad rulers...But a Stalin isn't an answer either.
If you like history (I do) then you'll probably enjoy this at least, butifyou don't then I wouldn't be in a rush to see this. It's an atypicallimited budget historical drama. With Tim Roth in "I'm playing apsychopath" role. Dougray Scott trying to be brooding and troubled,OliviaWilliams being very one-dimensional and Rupert Everett being pretty goodasCharles I.It's ok, the tensions Lord and Lady Fairfax have to deal with areinteresting but not realised properly. It's ok for a rainy afternoonwithnothing better to do, it is entertaining but you do need to be interestedinthe history.
I was quite excited to see this being a fan of historical films andparticularly interested in the Tudor and Stuart periods. The front of thevideo is presented in exactly the same style as Elizabeth which Ithoroughlyenjoyed. Elizabeth is relatively well researched and despite some poeticlicense depicts the early reign well. So this coupled with the actingprowess of Rupert Everett and Tim Roth all boded well. But what a pile ofpoopie. Over simplified, dreadfully inaccurate, - the list goes on = oneofthe most interesting periods of English History turned in to a bad SoapOpera. A significant part of the story is Fairfaxes refusal to signCharles's death warrant. Well ladies and gentlemen in fact he was one ofthefirst to sign.Suffice it to say the lines at the end"And England never again became a republic" (lol) sums up this littlepieceof filmery.
Customer review from the Amazon Vineâ¢ Program (What's this?) I was expecting this not to be a very good movie given the fact that I had never heard of it and that a quick search to find out why revealed extensive financial problems with the movie's completion. It is, however, quite a good historical drama with an emphasis, as other reviewers have noted, on the political side rather than the military. This tends to work to the film's advantage as it gives the filmmakers plenty of time to let us get into the lives and the heads of Oliver Cromwell, who was the head of the New Model Army and the parliamentary party that was in opposition to the oppressive rule of King Charles I of England, and more particularly to Lord Thomas Fairfax, who was the general of the New Model Army and, according to this film, a very close friend of Oliver Cromwell. The film compresses the time periods known as the First Civil War and the Second Civil War, focusing instead on the political battle between Parliament and the King and, ultimately, between Cromwell and Fairfax, a battle that Fairfax lost when Cromwell persuaded Parliament to execute the King without trial.The direction and performances are good almost across-the-board, but what takes the movie down to four stars for me is the depiction of Oliver Cromwell. Tim Roth does everything but twirl his mustache, playing Cromwell as a sort of Stuart-era Snidely Whiplash. Since Roth is a superb actor, I have to assume that this is how Cromwell was written, or perhaps how Roth was directed. The movie is supposed to be about the friendship between Cromwell and Fairfax but we never really see this, at least not until the very end of the film. You would never know from this movie that Cromwell himself was an excellent military commander or that what appeared to motivate him more than a sense of justice for all English men or a sense of outrage over the abuses of King Charles was his Puritan religion. It's very difficult to get a sense of why men followed him and why, in particular Lord Fairfax loved him as much as we are told he did. Cromwell as presented here never smiles, is tyrannical, and from the get-go appears worse than anything we've heard about the King. There is very little evidence of the meaningful relationship between Fairfax and Cromwell that the filmmakers say they intended. I kept wondering what it is that kept the two men bonded once the war was over. It's not an easy thing to figure out, but it is to the credit of these two fine actors that they eventually make you believe it, at least a little.Rupert Everett, who had so much evident fun playing Charles II in Stage Beauty, gets the opportunity to shine a little more subtly as Charles I's crown and life were taken from him. He is every inch a king who believes he owes his crown to God's grace and to divine right. There is no common ground between his view and that of Cromwell so King Charles has to die.We all know the excesses Cromwell comitted as Lord protector of England so I would very much have liked to see more of the man, the one ordinary Englanders would follow into battle and risk abandoning their king for. You can talk all you want in the movie about how much Cromwell's men love him, but we never really see it. We just see a monster who at the end, makes a few good speeches.Production values are good, costumes are excellent and tech credits definately fine overall. Bonus features are nearly non-existent. A trailer and a "behind-the-scenes" type ad that is short and just a little informative for those who haven't seen the movie. The rest of the bonuses are a trailer for To Kill a King and three other movies (like Beowulf). Nothing to get excited about. A pretty good effort on the movie, but you'll probably have more questions than you started with. Although if it inspires you to seek out the answers, I guess it's done its job. Well worth a couple hours of your time.
To Kill a KingMostly well filmed and acted, especially by Tim Roth. RupertEverettwas, however, a fundamentally bad choice. The film was also sparseonhistorical details and with more than a few unforgivableinaccuracies(especially Charles 1st's famed shortness, stammer and congenitalStuartmartyr complex all absent, the six years that elapsed betweentheregicide and the creation of the protectorate glossed overcompletely).More than anything else, however, the film seems to fundamentallyfailto "get" (or at least, convey) Oliver Cromwell, his motives andhismindset. Oliver Cromwell was an arrogant, pig-headed protestantbigot.This is bad enough- but attempting to demonise him as an autocraticanddespotic tyrant corrupted by power, aside from being completelyinaccurate, ultimately debases the story, and this shuts outthecomplexities of the Regicide, the Protectorate, Cromwell's reformsandthe events that interspersed them all from serious consideration bythescript writers.Ultimately, a valiant effort, let down by a sensationalist desiretowant to add some unnecessary grit to the story.
I picked up "To Kill A King" at a movie rental place one night when I was just browsing (as usual) for something more than the action/crude comedy/horror that so often lines the shelves of the new releases. The store had only one or two copies of this one and so I thought I'd take a look. I was pleasantly surprised to say the least. Since that night, I purchased the DVD for my own collection and have shared it with a few people who all liked it as well. I've watched it several times since I bought it and will watch again I'm sure. It's not often that I want to see any movie more than once or twice in a year but this one is definitely worth it, I think.
The move contains beautiful scenes and costumes. I felt like watching a play on stage not a movie. It's better to read a history book.
Well I am quite well read on this period of history.And unfortunately Idon't feel this film portrays the period well at all,Tim Roth,as goodas he is is other roles,was,in my opinion totally miscast as OliverCromwell..history shows Cromwell to be a strongminded,gruff,honest,happily married Huntingdon Farm owner who rosethrough the ranks of the army to become commander in chief,and whotrained his army to be the best in Europe.Tim's portrayal comes acrossas a greedy,power mad weasel.I'm afraid if it is a history lesson youare looking for then watch 'Cromwell' starring Richard Harris (anexcellent portrayal)..but if you choose to watch this film,then takethe history aspect with a pinch of salt.I can't really imagine a statueof Mr Roths version of Cromwell being erected outside parliament andbeing heralded a great Englishman.
I had halfway expected a standard costume drama with plenty of bloody action and steamy sex scenes - you know, the usual Hollywood crapola job for such historical topics - but not at all. It was a well acted, well scripted first class film mainly about the relationship between Cromwell and general Fairfax. Of course, the film has to suffer some from the fact that the historical context is too large for just a 102 min film: one does sense there was a more going on and one might miss having a little more explicit background but I found the characterizations and plot satisfying. Maybe not a great film but a very enjoyable one done with class.
I read so many negative reviews about the movie; I wasn't going to buy it. When I found the Blu-Ray edition selling for $9.96 at Wal-Mart, I couldn't pass it up. I definitely recommend Blu-Ray. I would have given it 5 stars but the dialogue is a little muddled.The movie explores the development of our notions about "Authority" and "Legitimacy". The movie suggests that the current thinking was that the authority to rule comes from God and not the people. The Divine Right of Kings was an integral part of religious views. To challenge the notion of Divine Right would be to challenge the core religious beliefs of society. In the movie, Sir Thomas Fairfax and his wife Lady Anne believe in the Divine Right of Kings. Thomas, however, believes that the King should be removed from power where as his wife (and all her family) did not. The general thinking in England sided with Thomas. Oliver Cromwell believed that the authority to rule came from the people, and, wanted to see the monarchy eliminated. He believed that the Divine Right of Kings was just an excuse to control, oppress and dominate.The movie primarily focuses on Sir Thomas Fairfax and his efforts to maintain his relationships to both his wife and to Cromwell despite their differences. Cromwell's treatment of the King and the King's eventual trial and beheading, completely severs the relationship between Fairfax and Cromwell.The representation of the period as will as the Cinematography is excellent. This is a drama and not an action movie. Remember, the historical events and their outcomes are already well known.As an American, of course "Authority" and "Legitimacy" come from the people: how could it be any other way? But then, there was a time when Europe thought the contrary.
I was lucky enough to catch this film in a trade screening in Milan. Theseare the worst places to watch films as the audience talk, get up, leave,come back, use the phone,etc. - but not with To Kill A King. The screeningroom was still and quiet, the auditorium packed. This is a great film, itisset just at the end of the British civil war we see mountains of dead andwounded soldiers being carted off the battlefield to help set the scene.TomFairfax, played in his best role ever by Dougray Scott, is the General whohas led his men to victory against the Kings army. His deputy OliverCromwell,(Tim Roth) has fought by his side all the way. These two men areinseparable, but on their victorious return to London, they find a kingwhois certainly not ready to roll over and give up his powers to Parliament.This is Rupert Everett's best performance. I thought I new what toexpect, -that rather naughty posh thing he does so well, but I was wrong. He givesabeautifully timed complex portrayal of a man faced with the destruction ofeverything he believes and trusts. The execution is beautiful because itisso moving. As the King approaches the block, his calm dignity in the faceofdeath, must turn the hearts of the most dedicated republicans.The film is really however a study of friendship and power. As the twofriends walk the corridors of power, Olivers more extreme and idealisedvision of a democratic Parliament conflict with Fairfax's idea of alimitedmonarchy. The two agree less and less, ultimately affecting theirrelationship and of course ends in betrayal. This was definitely anindependent movie because no studio would allow this ending. The finalscenebetween Roth and Scott is truly moving,upsetting and compelling. It has anamazing voyeuristic quality which makes you feel as if you are spying ontwomen who don't want to, but have to, say good bye.The production values were fantastic the sets have an epic quality notseenin the independent sector for years, the costumes and make up feel realandlived in- a real treat.
To Kill A King is a tedious account of an argument between Oliver Cromwell and one of his subordinates, Lord Fairfax, over whether or not to execute King Charles I. The film views like an obscure British television show of the sort that is sometimes still shown on Masterpiece Theater. Alright for history buffs, but otherwise avoid.
As we in America know, Civil War extracts a harsh price. It's not just on partisans, but families and friends who are broken up over the issues of a country's governance.The film's about the relationship between General Thomas Fairfax (Dougray Scott, who originally played in "Ever After"), Oliver Cromwell (Tim Roth) who served as his deputy. They have imprisoned King Charles 1 (Rupert Everett) until he accedes to their demands for reforms. Their goal is to 'plough the Kingdom into godly shape.' Unfortunately, Fairfax suspects his wife, Lady Anne (Olivia Williams), of collusion with the deposed monarch. Parliament wants the King back and have voted to restore him to the palace and his duties. But, Fairfax wants to lead the army against the Parliament for plundering the palace treasures. How well this story depicts the actual events, I cannot say. While the topic is interesting, the depiction is somewhat tiresome. If you are an Anglophile, you may still enjoy this film greatly. Rebecca Kyle, October 2008
Customer review from the Amazon Vineâ¢ Program (What's this?) Five RIVETING Stars!! Directed by Mike Barker and starring DougRay Scott, Tim Roth, Rupert Everett, and Olivia Williams, this is a brilliant historical retelling of the bloody transition of the English government from a royal monarchy to a republican Commonwealth. It's also centers on the love and tensions between Sir Thomas Fairfax (Scott) and his wife (WIlliams), and the friendship between Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell (a blazing Tim Roth) who became the Lord Protector of England, and the defiance of King Charles I (Everett) to certain political changes which were on the horizon for this king who ruled England, Scotland, and Ireland. The beautiful Olivia Williams steals every scene she's in, her beauty is seen in relief to the huge amount of testosterone evident throughout the movie in both war scenes and in the halls of parliament. But this film is mainly the vehicle for Scott (who also co-produced the movie)l, Roth, and Everett. and they are riveting individually and in the ensemble with Ms Williams. This is a must-see historical drama that is both gripping and mesmerizing with no wasted scenes. Highly Recommended. Five HISTORICAL Stars!!! (DVD: 102 minutes; color; widescreen; Dolby Surround Sound: 2.0 and 5.1; closed captioned; extra features: a short "Behind the scenes" and the theatrical trailer.)
STAR RATING:*****Unmissable****Very Good***Okay **You Could Go Out For AMeal Instead*Avoid At All CostsAs a kid,I used to love learning all about the Tudors andStewarts,especially about monarchs such as Henry the Eighth (sorry,I'mterrible at my Roman numerals),Edward the First (the youngest evermonarch)and Charles the first who was beheaded.So when I saw a film trailerpromoting a new film about Charles and his conflict with OliverCromwell,whobecame head of the Roundheads,Charles's greatest adversaries,I feltinclinedto go and see it as soon as possible.The results were admirable,though not great.It boasts a fine centralcast,inthe shape of Tim Roth as Cromwell,Dougray Scott as his aide ThomasFairfax,James Bolam as roguish parliamentary speaker Holles and RupertEveritt as the ill-fated king himself.They all play their parts with dashand spirit,which can only be a good thing.And there's some finephotographyand lavish costume design to add to the recommendations.On the down side however,Mike Barker's direction becomes a littlemeanderingand laboured and there are some fairly huge historical inaccuracies in thetelling of the tale.Still,everyone involved looks like they're enjoying starring in it,asindeedany 'actor' probably would,as this sort of period piece is how many suchexhibitionists learn the art of fine drama.Just get yourself in the rightmood,mosey on out,and I'm sure you might enjoy watching them perform itjustas much.Or almost.***
The English Civil War is over and King Charles is held within hischambers as Sir Thomas Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell continue theirreform of the country. With parliament bribed into returning Charles tothe throne, Cromwell and Fairfax use their remaining troops to seizecontrol and remove the king from power. As the political changes sweepthe nation, personal issues and political tensions between Fairfax andCromwell threaten to derail the movement.I didn't really watch this film to learn about history or have accuracyand really, it is just as well because, as others have said, thisreally isn't the place to come to for that. The plot focuses onCromwell and Fairfax and as such, dramatic license comes into play tomake this relationship central rather than the wider history of theperiod. To me this was a bit of a problem because I didn't know (don'tknow) a great deal about this part of my history and I found myselfwanting the film to educate me. However partially because the deliverystyle made me assume it wasn't all accurate and partially because thefilm itself wasn't that interested. For what it wants to do though, thefilm held my interest as the drama unfolded. It does rather come overas history-lite but the characters worked reasonably well whileBarker's direction suits the period feel.The cast are worthy enough even if they aren't brilliant. Scott andRoth worked pretty well together even if neither really got to gripswith their characters beyond the superficial level. The support cast issolid with a good turn from Everett as well as Williams, Bolam and afew others. Overall this is a fairly good film that is held togetherthanks to the central relationship of Cromwell and Fairfax. Could havebenefited from a better structure historical-wise rather than throwingin so much behind the characters (that many viewers will not have acontextual knowledge of).
Customer review from the Amazon Vineâ¢ Program (What's this?) "To Kill a King" takes some of the finest acting I've seen lately and sets it adrift in a movie filled with pointless expository dialogue, incomprehensible political maneuvering, and a plot that was - incredibly - nonexistent. How can you take one of the most dramatic events in English - nay, European - nay, World! History, and turn it into a movie about.... What was this movie about? Seriously, I still have no idea. Um, war is hell? No, that's not it. Down with the king? Close, but still not there. The mysterious bonds that form between two men thrown together in adverse circumstances who, once their common cause is achieved, suddenly find themselves inexplicably at odds, staring at each other in confusion across a vast ideological chasm? Ooohhh, right, that must be it.Now, here's a hint: if you're going to make a movie about two friends who turn against each other, there are two things you should probably make a point of showing: 1) Why they're friends in the first place, and 2) Why they're not friends anymore. "To Kill a King" does neither. We're told, not shown, how close Thomas Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell have become while leading the Civil War against King Charles I. Later, we see plenty of Cromwell glowering angrily behind Fairfax's back, but we never manage to quite figure out what got his panties into such a bunch. The two men are shoved into uncomfortable archetypes: the noble and naïve Fairfax, the bitter, Machiavellian, megalomaniacal Cromwell. It's hard to believe these two ever agreed on what color uniforms to wear, much less on how to overthrow a government. None of this is the fault of the two lead actors. Dougray Scott as Fairfax and Tim Roth as Cromwell are brilliant, even within the limits of their awkward dialogue. Olivia Williams does a fine job looking distressed for most of the movie, and Rupert Everett turns in his best "Stuart King" impersonation as Charles I. I wish they'd all been given more to do; I wish more had been made of the actual historical events this movie is supposedly based on; I wish I actually cared more.There was one moment, early in the movie, that opened a too-brief door on what "To Kill a King" could have been. Fairfax, furious over the duplicitous dealings of Parliament, bellows that he will gather his troops again and fight another war to bring justice. We see just a flash of Cromwell's usually dour face as it lights up in a grin - not a malicious or smug grin, but a boyish expression of pure delight at the thought of fighting again with his best friend at his side. (Kudos to Roth for this amazing scene.) In those few seconds I had a glimpse of the love that must have once existed between these two men. Even a few more such moments would have gone a long way towards redeeming this movie.
Customer review from the Amazon Vineâ¢ Program (What's this?) I'm going to go against what I normally say in a movie review here in that puritans who will no doubt lambaste this film for it's historical inaccuracies and poetic narrative, probably deserve to be heard (in this case). I am all for entertainment, I don't usually care if aspects are distorted in historical based drama, and I appreciate the need for brevity on screen to keep the audience entertained as well as informed. All that said, it's hard to understand how to describe this picture. There is little in the way of action or sex, or high drama for that matter, and the subject material (The English Civil War) is hardly a global moneybag rich for storytelling in the way that say Braveheart, or The Patriot translated onto the screen. Casting is also a BIG problem, mainly by association. Tim Roth, who is a fine actor, has of late played some pretty psychotic and off color roles, and one feels he just doesn't bring enough to the role of Cromwell. History (even from contemporary sources) tells us that Cromwell was devoted family man, who loved music and jokes, also a tolerant tactician who actually suppressed tyrant Presbyterians whilst he searched for a constitutional settlement with the king. Here he is portrayed as an almost sullen "Socialist" or marauding Olly North type character with little or no depth. Rupert Everett exudes charm as Charles, and obviously researched the finer points of a king remembered as hardly a "dandy" but certainly a well spoken epicurean. Dougray Scott is the best thing about the movie without doubt, his portrayal as Fairfax is gritty, determined and very believable (even if his on screen relationship is historically way off). All in all the movie is not very bad, it's just not very good either, and sort of meanders it's way through the 1hr 40 min run time without any real satisfaction for the viewer. It's a shame, when you consider such an accomplished cast. I would have thought they would have carried this off with more zeal. Hollywood is often criticized for skewed views of history in favor of "in your face" entertainment. Here we seem to have gotten the former, sadly without the latter. 3 stars for a stellar cast, 2 for the content.
Customer review from the Amazon Vineâ¢ Program (What's this?) I read a brief synop about this movie several years ago in a movie industry magazine and thought it sounded interesting. I anxiously awaited its release.Years of anticipation, waiting eagerly for the release of a film starring a load of talented actors, about a fascinating, turbulent time in history were for NAUGHT.This movie was an utter, utter disappointment. With a score of fantastically talented actors (Everett, Roth, Scott), a riveting plot (revoultion and regicide - come on!), and an interesting setting, this movie still sunk like a lead balloon. Slow. Ponderous. Impressed with it's weight. Bogged down with poorly written dialogue. Lacking deft characterizations that would make this a compelling story, or at the very least, something to keep you from clicking the DVD off and tuning instead to a rerun of The Tudors.In short, after years of waiting, I am left miserably diappointed.
Customer review from the Amazon Vineâ¢ Program (What's this?) Being a history buff, and one with a particular interest in this period, I was surprised to find this film boring far beyond the norm. The costumes and "sets" were well done - the difficulty was that the actors did little of note in them.Cromwell, for example, an intriguing if not loveable character in history, comes across here as rather a bored and irritable sort, who expresses emotion by raising an eyebrow. I did not see a genuine hint of the underlying, powerful conflict of the civil war era - tumultuous, violent, but fascinating in itself. One unfamiliar with the period could come away from viewing this film with the impression that it was a time of grumbling between two rivals - with a few bare bums and bosoms here and there just to keep the viewers' interest.