In case you missed it at the Cannes Film Festival:
Directed and co-scripted by British documentary-maker James Marsh, The King is a fascinating psychological drama that puts the boot into the delusions, hypocrisy and cruelty of American Christian fundamentalism. In his first English-speaking role, charismatic Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal plays 21-year-old Elvis, son of a deceased Hispanic prostitute, who returns from a stretch in the navy hoping to become part of the family of his father.
But Dad is a born-again Christian, now the Reverend Sandow (William Hurt), popular minister of a church in the south eastern Texas port of Corpus Christi. He rejects his son as belonging to a former life, ‘before I became a Christian’. Elvis sticks around, impregnating his 16-year-old half-sister and killing his 18-year-old half-brother, whose project is to introduce intelligent creation as an alternative to Darwinism at his high school.
The clever thing about The King is that we never know to what extent Elvis has thought through his programme of revenge and he probably doesn’t know either. Moreover, a point is reached when everything the pastor eventually does by way of redemption only adds to the destruction of his family. A disturbing, extremely well-acted picture.