This startling film opens in early 1942.
Imperial and aggressive Japan is in the ascent all over the Pacific. The Americans in the Far East have been routed and are in retreat.
One of their soldiers is the only survivor of an attack and bloody massacre.
Dazed, wounded and frantic with fear he staggers deep into the jungle of Borneo. In so doing he turns his back on the horrific war of “civilization” raging about him and finds peace amid the tribes that inhabit a parallel world of peace and calm with the jungles of Borneo.
Initially treated with suspicion the natives are wary.
Tattooed with a fiery dragon on his chest and having blue eyes that speak of the sea the source of highly valued salt.
He comes to be accepted impressing the natives with his willingness to learn their language and customs.
Eventually our anti-hero finds acceptance and an inner peace.
In time he learns these peoples respect and is elevated to be their King, the last “King of Borneo”.
It is early 1945.”The Wind” (progress of the war) turns away from the East to West.
Allied forces Britain and America wish to harvest indigenous people of the area in their plan to retake the Pacific Rim lands of Japanese conquest.
So the scene is set for a meeting of cultures, outlook and values between Nick Nolte as King of his adopted people getting drawn back into the violent world of “civilization” and Nigel Havers the British intelligence officer engaged in a mission to create allies and wage war against the common enemy the Japanese.
This engaging DVD film release is inspired by Joseph Conrad’s novel” Heart of Darkness” and re-examines themes explored in screen writer John Milius script of the magnificent war film “Apocalypse Now”.
Where Brando’s Colonel Kurtz goes native and murderously insane in “Apocalypse Now”, Nick Nolte as a pacifist king is forced by circumstance to turn against his new ways in harvesting vengeance and anger to preserve that innocence and gentle way of living.
This is an intelligent and engaging morality tale told in the format of an exciting and memorable war movie.
Superbly acted by the two male leads.
Nolte is engaged and engaging, immersing himself in the role of a lifetime whilst Havers demonstrates a depth of emotion and skill as that quietly impress in it’s dignity and control.
Why this movie did not lead to a Hollywood career for Nigel Havers remains a mystery.
This is a tour de force of consummate story telling and performance that invites a new audience of admirers.
A Sunday afternoon delight with a sting in its tale.
Don’t miss it this time around.
Farewell To The King (DVD) Second Sight