QuikReview: Alfred the Great


When making an epic, several ingredients are absolutely necessary. One of them is faces that look authentic for your era and location, or which, in a pinch, just look authentically something. Another is a slightly ponderous style which modern-day Hollywood has forgotten. Long takes in the middle or far distance are essential, especially long takes with a moving camera and natural lighting (nice scenery is a plus). Then you need actors who can hold up to this style, maintaining their poise and staying in-character through extended moments of silence. If they can continue to actually act during those pauses, so much the better. Then, a script of the sort which must be enunciated clearly and with good diction. A really great soundtrack is an absolute must. Quite important is color and set dressing. Historical accuracy is not all that important.

This movie scores highly but not perfectly in almost all categories. It’s soundtrack is not particularly great (in fact it’s barely there at all), and the script has occasional clunky stretches which no amount of dignified, clever diction can save. Otherwise, I give it an 8/10. All the faces are well-cast and suited to their roles, the actors commit to their lines; the camera moves slowly and smoothly; costumes and sets are convincingly medieval without being uniformly muck-brown (thank God.) I’m not really worked up over this movie, but it’s worth a watch and perhaps a rewatch.


Oh, that’s neat. The first battle is set at the the Uffington White Horse!

Alfred to his father-in-law: “If you try to run away, I shall have you executed.”
Father-in-law: “By God…ah think ye mean it! [to self, rubbing chin]…but that’s if he can find me…”

As total burns go, “The son she bore you calls him father,” has got to be one of the worst there is.

Hey….is that Michael York under that moustache?


If you need one character to give a lengthy monologue to empty space to make their feelings clear to the audience, your script isn’t good enough.

There’s a pitiful lack of wild-haired savage sidekicks in fiction these days. Wild-haired savage sidekicks are the best.

Rated: An tara an tara tan!