The Last King
The chronicle of Charles II's time on the throne, his ten-year exile from Oliver Cromwell's England, and his triumphant return.The chronicle of Charles II's time on the throne, his ten-year exile from Oliver Cromwell's England, and his triumphant return.The chronicle of Charles II's time on the throne, his ten-year exile from Oliver Cromwell's England, and his triumphant return.
Apart from the mildly irritating liberties the writer took with historical accuracy here and there, this is one of the best historical series I've seen for a long time and kept me intrigued for all four episodes. Perhaps the approach was too subtle for some, we had one or two small bits of gore, you could say just enough to convey the brutality of the era.
This however was more about the contradictory elements of Charles's character and how he chose to deal with the constant political threats he lived through which could have swallowed him up at any time. His compassion, tolerance,lust, his fine political judgement, his mixed feelings as he tried to stabilize his country, promote religious tolerance, resist parliament, balance the books and have a good time when he could. The principal players dance around him but do they control him or is he carefully playing them off? It is not about battles, blood or explosive action. It is nevertheless tense and dynamic as friendships, loyalties and political passions spark off each other.
And then, we have Rufus Sewell, seldom has more skilled and effective portrayal of an historical figure been offered. He burns, he frets, he soothes, he controls, he accedes. He acting of great loyalty against all pressures to some and abandonment of allies for political expediency with others, is performed with equally high credibility. He has more character in a few facial movements than many actors could deliver in a hundred lines. A complete and consummate character performance and assimilation of Charles II's persona. The other cast do not fail to provide full but studied portrayals to complete the drama.
The thoughtful mix of setting, inside and out and usual top quality costume etc do not let the production fall below the highest standards. Yet there is no over the top kitch clichéd stuff that many period dramas throw in.
Watch out for any award for Rufus Sewell.
A huge success.
- Dec 9, 2003