The new international trailer for the British dystopian thriller The White King is out, and it shows that real totalitarianism isn’t wealthy weirdos in pink wigs watching kids fight to the death.
Based on the 2008 novel, The White King is about a 12-year-old boy living in a future dystopia who’s labeled a traitor, alongside his mother, after his father is imprisoned. He has to try and survive a totalitarian state that seeks to indoctrinate its youth, while also struggling to reunite his family.
The film premiered at the Edinburgh Film Festival to mixed reviews. While some called it a promising debut by husband-and-wife directorial team Jörg Tittel and Alex Helfrecht, others including The Hollywood Reporter called it “underwhelming” and too Americanized. The latter looks to definitely be true. Even though it’s a British film shot in Hungary, nearly all of the protagonists have American accents.
The White King film clearly took inspiration from American YA dystopian films like The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner, but it definitely looks more grounded in actual possibility than its predecessors. Given how outlandish some of the more recent YA dystopian works have been, including one where an SAT exam determines whether you live or die, it’s nice to see one that’s more realistic than metaphorical.
The White King is set to come out in the UK in January, but does not have a US release date yet.