The Lost King

15 Blu-ray, DVD

There are certain locales that you immediately associate with British royalty, such as Buckingham Palace, Balmoral Castle and the Pizza Express in Woking.

One that wouldn’t necessarily be on the list is a car park in the city of Leicester. Until now.

Stephen Frears’ latest digs a little deeper into the story that went worldwide in 2012, based on Philippa Langley’s book The Search for Richard III.

boom reviews The Lost King
What do you mean you've never heard of Alan Partridge??!!

Having been passed up for promotion on dubious grounds in her job working telesales, Philippa Langley (Sally Hawkins) becomes even more annoyed with her position in the company.

One evening, she takes her son to a production of Shakespeare’s Richard III, that Philippa is mesmerised by. So much so that she decides to buy some books on the subject, and read up on his history. This then leads her to join a local appreciation society for the very late king of England.

All of this interested doesn’t just strike a passion on the subject, but an obsession, particularly as she starts to see the king himself in her life.

With so much research and understanding in regards to his life, Philippa is driven by a mission, to find the king, specifically the place where he died. Who knew that all roads would lead to Leicester?

boom reviews The Lost King
Oh, so we should have taken the third left off of the A406!

It’s a tough ask with a film like this, to keep an audience engaged, considering how well known your ending is, especially in the UK; It made such a splash in the media, that even those with no interest in history whatsoever, are no doubt aware of the city and locale of this ex-king’s remains were found, so much so that its probably been removed from your standard pub quiz for being too well known.

It’s for this reason that Frears probably used the plot device of Philippa not only seeing the king, but interacting with him, to add a fantasy element into what is quite a dry story overall. It gives the film a nice sense of balance, as well as makes it a little more playful.

The majority of the film is focused on the drive and determination of one woman, who not only did a serious amount of homework to build her knowledge on the subject, but took the next brave step to embark on the funding and organising of a specific site.

There is a subplot however, which is her relationship with her ex husband John, played by Steve Coogan, who she remained fairly close with throughout, juggling her parental duties as well as the end of her marriage, with essentially re-writing history with her findings.

Hawkins is simply superb, featuring in almost every scene of the film. It’s the kind of performance that reminds you of the arbitrary nature of choosing a national treasure, and how it seems outrageous that Hawkins is never in the running. That should change, not only for this fine feat, but her entire body of work.

The film has an unusual baddie, in the form of the University of Leicester, who really don’t come out of this at all well, seemingly wanting to take all the credit for the find, and in doing so, completely ignoring all of Philippa’s efforts.

It’s a curious film, one that wallows in the actions of one woman, who really only ended up digging up some dead guy in a car park, with the same kind of reverence as if she had discovered the cure for cancer.

It’s a comfortable journey, even if you know the final destination, featuring a script that doesn’t necessarily deserve the strong performances that came out it.

Still with all the absurd ruckus that appears to be constantly surrounding the current house of Windsor, we should all be grateful for a royal story worth digging up.

we give this three out of five