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Movie Review: The King

Alternate Title: Sins of the Father

Story: Southern Gothic was my second choice as alternate title. This stick to your ribs psycho - thriller had me thinking about it long after I left the theater.

Young Elvis Valderez is discharged from the Navy and immediately heads to Corpus Christi, Texas to seek out the biological father he never knew. His wayward father has seen the light and is now a bible belt preacher with the perfect family. After being rebuked at the initial father/son meeting the emotionally detached Elvis embarks on the road to acceptance into this family. The morally complex Elvis is hypnotic to watch. Without revealing too much, he manages to woo the young daughter, alienate the son and well ...I can't tell you much more without ruining everything. Suffice it to say I was riveted by the story, the characters, the feeling of impending violence and the conclusion.

Director James Marsh (The Burger & the King: The Life & Cuisine of Elvis Presley) does a first rate job of delivering an absorbing, complicated story. It was co-written with Milo Addica (Monster's Ball).

This film will most likely become a cult favorite down the line as Gael Garcia Bernal becomes a super star. Catch it if you can.

Acting: Gael Garcia Bernal is one of my favorite young actors and in his first English speaking role (with no discernible accent) he is once again terrific. He plays the morally illiterate Elvis, chillingly brilliantly and I could not take my eyes off of him when he was on the screen. William Hurt as the preacher is getting better and better with each part. He was believable and right on the money. The rest of the family were equally as good. Pell James, Laura Harring and Paul Dano round out the cast.

Predilection: I like Bernal (a lot).

Critters: Horses and dogs

Food: Pizza and fast food

Soundtrack: Dolly Parton opens with 'Peace in the Valley' one of the real Elvis' favorite gospel tunes.

Theater Audience: A small devoted audience.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 2

Squirm Scale: The feeling of impending violence is squirmy. Be warned, there is a violent scene.

Drift Factor: No drifting here.

Predictability Level: I has no idea what was going to happen.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: I would nominate Bernal for any award and William Hurt was great too.

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen for sure if you want to see this very handsome guy up close and personal. For some other films with Bernal try renting: Y. Tu Mama, Tambien, Amoros Perros and the Crime of Father Amoro.

Length: 100 minutes