Obsluhoval jsem anglického krále or I Served the King of England is the adaption of Bohumil Hrabal‘s book of the same name by Jirí Menzel. I started to read the book but didn’t finish it yet. So don’t expect much comparison.
Jan Dite (Oldrich Kaiser) is released from prison and looks back on his life as a younger man (Ivan Barnev), obsessed with becoming a millionaire and, of course, women. As a waiter, he stumbles through the history of Czechoslovakia during the Second World War and Communism.
The movie is a bit too long and suffers from the same problem I have with the book: Dite remains completely alien to me. The way he thinks, the way he makes decisions and the way people around him react to him is honestly a mystery to me. [Which also means that it’s quite an adaptation of the book – it’s hard to translate stuff like that from one medium to the next.] There were some funny scenes and some scenes where I would have thrown popcorn, had I bought any.
The actors were extremely well cast, especially Ivan Barnev (who hardly gets to say a word and still is very expressive) and Julia Jentsch.
But as I said before, I really had a problem with the characters. Not only Dite, but all of them were completely incomprehensible to me. As always, there’s one exception to this statement and in this case that’s Skřivánek (Martin Huba).
There were some scenes – the more slapstick ones – where they had a kind of silent-movie score, which was very well done and I really liked the ida. Generally, there was not a lot of talking.
Apart from that, the directing was good, but not extraordinary.
It had some really funny moments, but mostly the humour was lost on me.
But these are all things I could live with. What seriously irked me, though, were the women in this movie or how they were treated. All they ever did was frolic around, mostly naked.
And in the whole movie there was one woman who had any character at all apart from adoring Dite [and I don’t get why they would], if you can call that a character trait, and she was a Nazi. Guh-reat.
So, summarising, it was more of a Meh-movie than I expected, which might mostly be attributed to the source material.