The White King

U.K. / Directors Alex Helfrecht and Jörg Tittel /89 mins

: In a dystopian future a young boy (Lorenzo Allchurch) vows to find his imprisoned father.

Based on the novel of the same name by György Dragomán, who based his dystopian authoritarian tale on his childhood in Ceaușescu’s Romania.

A 12-year-old boy Djata, (Lorenzo Allchurch) watches as government agents take his father Peter (Ross Partridge). His mother Hannah (Agyness Deyn) pretends that Peter is away for a ‘special mission’. Peter is actually imprisoned for speaking out about the regime. After discovering the truth, Djata joins his mother in the search to find where Peter is being kept.

The film starts with an impressive animated credit sequence, unfortunately this is the only thing that dazzles. 

The script is dull with too many questions are left unanswered. How did this dystopian world happen, who are these people ruled by and why are guys in there twenties terrorising little kids? The actual world is not fleshed out enough and with little depth to the characters. Even worse is that the piece just ends with no resolution or explanation.

Everyone in the cast does their best with the material provided. Agyness Deyn, Jonathan Pryce and Fiona Shaw suffer from the underdeveloped characterisation and lacklustre dialogue. Newcomer Allchurch shows promise, but even he appears to struggle with the cliched script.

Theatre directors Helfrecht and Tittel have made their debut in the Young Adult dystopian area, which is now oversaturated and has seen better movies in this genre. Especially with The Hunger Games series. All that is shown of the world is grassy countryside, buildings with billboards showing the words Serve, Duty, Glory and Family and the odd computerised helicopter in the sky.

It is hard to believe the filmmakers took four years to develop this underwhelming cinema experience.
Reviewed by Paul Logan

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