Plot: What’s it about?
Starring David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike in a fact-based story about an interracial couple, A United Kingdom is a well-acted film that features a sweet story. The cast certainly does do a good job even though the film is somewhat familiar and routine. It still gets a lot of mileage due to the development of the characters and its heart. It’s certainly a depressing film, and not necessarily one I need to see again. Having said that, the intended audience should enjoy it, assuming they know what to expect. It’s not always an easy watch, but it is still mostly effective.
There was another recent movie about a similar topic called Loving. That film, set in the U.S. and much slower and simpler did feature an interracial couple and the rising tensions from their love for one another. Kingdom tells the story of the heir to the throne of Bechuanaland, Sereste Khama (Oyelowo) who studies law in London immediately after the Second World War. While there, he meets a white woman named Ruth Williams (Pike). The two eventually marry, despite several protests from their families and the British government. Eventually he’s exiled from his own country. We also see Sereste and his discovering that the British have allowed the US to mine for stones. He wants to ensure that any exploitation of their resources is done by the people of Bechuanaland. Still, the core of the story is the romance between the two and that will play a big factor in how invested one is with the film. I admire the story that’s being told here, but the film did drag a bit too much for my liking.
Video: How’s it look?
We get an AVC encoded 2.39:1 transfer that satisfies as it’s nicely detailed and textured throughout. Flesh tones are smooth and accurate with no serious issues detected. Background shots are smooth as well. It’s certainly an attractive film to look at, so the transfer does it justice.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The DTS HD track is consistently satisfying with it staying reasonably active throughout the film. We hear a lot of music throughout the film and the track makes good use of it all. Vocals are nice as well. This is a good compliment to the film.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Making of… – As much as I’d like to say that this is mind-blowing, it’s really just some standard EPK material. Interviews with the cast and crew, a bit of historical information about the real-life couple and some behind the scenes footage.
- Filming in Botswana – While Botswana looks beautiful, we don’t get a whole lot of footage. We’re treated to some pretty canned footage and some scenes from the film.
- The Legacy of Seretse and Ruth – The real-life couple is profiled.
- London Film Festival Opening Night Gala Premiere – Some footage from the red carpet as the film opens in London.
The Bottom Line
I’ll be honest, films like this aren’t really my cup of tea. With that being said, this one at least is solid on a technical level. The acting and core story are strong enough to maintain our interest even if it’s a bit depressing and rather familiar as well. Rent it.