DVD Review: THE WHITE KING

THE WHITE KING is the debut feature film from co-directors Alex Helfrecht and Jörg Tittel, is a sci-fi drama set in a dystopian future. Based on the internationally acclaimed, award winning novel by György Dragomán, the stark genre film stars Jonathan Pryce, Agyness Deyn, Greta Scacchi, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Fiona Shaw, Ross Partridge and newcomer Lorenzo Allchurch.

Djata (Allchurch) is a care-free twelve-year-old growing up in “The Homeland,” a totalitarian state shut off from the outside world. Filled with Big Brother-like surveillance cameras and propaganda posters, the agrarian community at first seems peaceful and orderly, kept safe by an enormous statue dominating the landscape. But when Djata’s father, Peter (Partridge) is whisked away to a deadly work camp, the young boy and his mother, Hannah (Deyn) are labeled traitors and forced to navigate a world of propaganda, abuse and secret police. Before his father was taken away, however, he passed a secret to Djata that could change everything.

The White King follows this 12-year-old boy whose father gets taken away and imprisoned by the overpowering government and its forceful military. The boy is left alone with his mother and the two of them are kind of left in the dark why exactly his father was taken away at first but they do ultimately find out as the story plays out. The boy and his mother are labeled as traitors and have a hard time buying everyday essentials like food as well as becoming social outcasts. There’s also the boy’s grandfather who plays an important part to the story because he’s this great military leader and could have prevented this nightmare from ever happening to this family. The White King starts out kind of mellow when we first meet this family but it quickly takes a dark turn and never lets up until this small shred of hope is teased in the finale. Even though the movie really doesn’t have the happy ending everyone would love to see, it does tease the spark of a rebellion at the end and this young boy is at the center of it.

Okay, The White King was so much better than I thought it was going to be for a number of reasons. It’s definitely a story and character driven drama that shows how life could become for us if our government keeps getting bigger. I’m anti big gov anyway so I really don’t like the thought of it. I’ve also had the opportunity first hand to compare capitalism, socialism and communism in my life time and there’s no doubt that capitalism is by far the best way to go about things. Our free market and freedom of speech are things we really take for granted here. In the movie, the people live in a place called “The Homeland” where big gov controls everything from how you buy your food to how your workday goes and that’s eerily familiar with how some countries have run things in the past and still do to this very day. Once people are forced into this situation, they’re completely dependant on the government which also means they can be cut off at any time and that’s exactly what happens in this movie. It gives you a frightening look at a world where there’s no privacy with cameras placed all around and the goverment’s idealogy is forced upon the people by its propaganda and military. It’s political tyranny that runs the show!

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The DVD disc also features some matching artwork. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this standard-definition release were really good. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, The White King was a fascinatingly dark journey into a world that I honestly hope I never have to be a part of. I enjoy my own personal patriotism way too much and even though we’ve let our own government get way too big, we thankfully still have our freedom. This mysterious government (it’s a dictatorship) that is in control of “The Homeland” has taken things way too far and it has left these poor people in a state of fear because they’ve witnessed what happens to someone if they rebel against the system. Alex Helfrecht and Jörg Tittel did a great job telling the story and bringing it all to life on screen because this really is an interesting watch that’ll really make you think about things. The entire cast also delivered some stellar performances with these characters of theirs. There’s no date or time that this movie takes place in and even “The Homeland” is a big mystery as to where it actually is but there’s so much about this world that looks familiar in a terrifying kind of way. There’s definitely hints of movies like 1984, The Hunger Games and even Stand by Me in The White King. This thought-provoking dystopian sci-fi drama is now available on DVD and is definitely worth checking out.

Distributor: Omnibus Entertainment

Run Time: 89 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

DVD Video: Widescreen (2.35:1)

DVD Audio: English Surround Sound 5.1 / English Stereo 2.0

Subtitles: English

Special Features: 

  • Behind the Scenes Featurette (06:36)
  • Cast & Directors Interviews (03:57)
  • The White King Trailer (01:44)

 

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