The mockumentary has recently seen a resurgence with comedies like What We Do In The Shadows and Popstar. King of the Belgians continues this trend and is one of the funniest films of the year.
Taking inspiration from the Eyjafjallajökull eruption in 2010, King of the Belgians shows a documentary profile of Nicholas III (Peter Van den Begin) go off the rails when a solar storm strands him in Turkey as Belgium is tearing itself apart. Along with his team of bureaucrats and the British director Duncan Lloyd (Pieter van der Houwen), Nicholas attempts to reach his imperiled home country by travelling across the Balkans.
The film carries a light, whimsical tone and mines great laughs from watching these elites mingle with locals, whether it be a Bulgarian folk singer or a Serbian sniper. King of the Belgians wisely avoids becoming too political, making the film accessible. It’s more of a character piece with Nicholas at the center as he finds himself liberated from the pressures of protocol and is able to be himself. Providing nice contrasts are Lucie Debay as Nicholas’ uptight PR manager and Bruno Georis as his snobbish Chief of Protocol. Also along for the ride is the relatively grounded valet Carlos (Titus De Voogdt).
All these characters bounce wonderfully off each other. The chemistry they share is just pitch-perfect for a comedy. Not only that, but they each possess a depth that makes them easy to sympathize with and difficult to forget.
King of the Belgians is a perfect sorbet of a film that is rich with good humour. The humanity of its characters and the originality of its premise make it a most refreshing watch that will go down a treat for anyone looking for something on the lighter side.
CAST: Peter Van den Begin, Lucie Debay, Titus De Voogdt
DIRECTORS: Peter Brosens, Jessica Woodworth
WRITERS: Peter Brosens, Jessica Woodworth
SYNOPSIS: The King of the Belgians lost in the Balkans.