- Movie Rating -

King David (1985)

| March 29, 1985

Quick!  Someone please remake this into a better movie!

What happened here?

The story of King David is robust, full, exciting, filled with intrigue, sex, adventure.  This is the story of a warrior king, a man who turned Israel into a nation.  David’s is one of the most meat-on-the-bone stories to come out of the Bible, so why are none of those great qualities are on display in Bruce Beresford’s dreary and talky costume drama?

Everything goes wrong in this movie.  It looks wrong, it sounds wrong, it is cast wrong.  Richard Gere looks way too contemporary to play a man who existed 3000 years ago even though – in his American accent – he talks like a treatment draft for one of De Mille’s lesser Biblical epics.  It offers up David as a man who is about as uncomplicated as a fashion model and has romantic and sexual problems of your average teenager on the way to the junior prom.

The story of this warrior king is whittled down to a tale that would be right at home in one of those illustrated comic books for kids.  I expected a story with fire and energy but what I got was a movie that has the lackadaisical drama of a daytime soap opera.  It tries to be a womb to tomb examination of David’s life but seems to have cut out all of the historical red-letter moments.  The dialogue sounds like they’re quoting dialogue from De Mille’s epics in hushed tones like no human beings who existed 3000 years ago or even last week.

The population of David’s story becomes a problem because the identities of his friends and enemies remain knowledgeable to him but not to us.  Only two are identifiable and both are a disappointment.  First is Goliath who is a disappointment.  We expect Paul Bunyan or Andre the Giant, but what we get is a guy who looks like a motorcycle thug in canned armor.  The other is Bathsheba, played in a muted role by Alice Krige.  Her role is so downplayed that I wondered if her best scenes hadn’t been cut out altogether.

I don’t know what the think was here.  The whole movie has the quality of a very slow, boring Easter drama, something put together by the local theater group instead of a multi-million-dollar epic.  Nothing in this movie illustrates what greatness came from David’s legend, why he is so lionized in history nor why this movie even needed to be made.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1985) View IMDB Filed in: Drama, Uncategorized