TIFF 2016 Review: Message From The King
Perhaps the biggest disappointment of Fabrice Du Welz’s film Message from the King is that Chadwick Boseman’s character Jacob King is that he does not do some sort of variation of “If you come at the King, you best not miss”. Indeed, this story of a troubled individual from South Africa being hunted down while on the hunt for his sister feels a little bit like The Wire though set in Los Angeles instead of Washington, D.C.
The seedy underbelly of L.A. is a familiar setting from the works of Raymond Chandler to the modern crime fiction of Michael Connelly and James Ellroy. Message from the King exists in somewhat of a similar universe but transplants the story of crime in South Africa, and adds in a story about a hooker named Kelly with a heart of gold (Teresa Palmer). The subplot involving a dentist (Luke Evans) lasts for far too long and a subsection involving the villian seems to come out of nowhere. Boseman and Palmer, especially, are talented leads and deserve much better.