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I was counting on you. You let me down.

To Kill a King is directed by Mike Barker and written by Jenny Mayhew. It stars Tim Roth, Dougray Scott, Olivia Williams, James Bolam and Rupert Everett. Music is by Richard G Mitchell and cinematography by Eigil Bryld.

It’s the end of the English Civil War and with King Charles 1st (Everett) held prisoner by the Parliamentarians, Sir Thomas Fairfax (Scott) and Oliver Cromwell (Roth), friends and colleagues, fall out over the best plan of action for the New England.

A severely troubled production and budgetary constraints left To Kill a King with a mountain to climb just to get acknowledged as a historical epic of worth. Add in the dubious take on this part of English history that so irked the historians, and you would be forgiven for thinking that the film is something of a stinker. Not so actually. For although it’s clearly far from flawless, it’s a literary piece of work that chooses character dynamics over blood and thunder. Suffice to say that those searching for a battle strewn epic should look elsewhere, but if you have a bent for observations on key personalities involved in war politics during times of upheaval in a period setting? Then this delivers the goods. Well performed by the principal players as well. 7/10

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