The White King Makes The Hunger Games Look Like Child’s Play

Illustration for article titled iThe White King/i Makesi The Hunger Games/i Look Like Child’s Play

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.


Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.

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I just wonder whether any of these writers read books, say, on GULAG. because compared to that shit, all these dystopias sound meek. toothless. nice.

I have always hated how in American bleak movie dystopias, everybody gets to live in a separate big barrack with windows, with a separate bed. like, people, you have no idea how hell on Earth looks like. lived in for generations in the actual totalitarian state hellbent on world domination.

when the Chornobyl disaster happened, my entire school was training for the Victory Day parade — for hours every day, every single day till May 9. kids were vomiting and shitting blood, but adults just told us to toughen it out. and it was already in the rather vegetarian times, with no GULAG, only with punitive psychiatry and gynecology, and dentistry without pain-killing medications.

top that, you dystopia writers.