The King is Dead! (2012)

I’m on a bit of a Rolf de Heer (of Bad Boy Bubby fame) kick, after hearing about this new film. If you can find this, watch it. The Matriarch and I loved it.

A young Aussie couple move into a cute little house in the suburbs: their dream home, they think. On one side, a normal, sweet couple with a little girl: on their right, some scary, loud neighbours are in and out of the house of King.

They endure the constant sounds of domestic violence next door, nocturnal visits from vagrants, burglaries and break-ins to their home and plead in vain with the harmless but hopeless crackhead, King, to control what’s going on next door.

The cops can’t do anything, and after being pushed to their limit by some disturbing and nasty events, they decide to take matters into their own hands.

It is understated and naturalistic in de Heer’s usual style, and the black humour and constant feeling of dread and malice build through the entire thing. You end up laughing more than you normally would at stuff that isn’t, or shouldn’t be, funny, just to release your mounting tension.

It’s a funny film, but it never goes for the cheap, easy laughs. It doesn’t go for predictable character types. Nobody is entirely good, or entirely evil, and you are kept guessing up to the end. It’s unbelievably, unbearably suspenseful.

Four stars.

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