Young Adult Fiction has become one of the most fertile sources for Hollywood blockbusters. However, whilst The Hunger Games was a huge success, more often than not you end up with something disastrous like The Golden Compass or the turgid Divergent and Maze Runner films. In The White King, Alex Helfrecht and Jörg Tittel bring György Dragomán’s dystopian novel to the big screen. Whilst not entirely successful, it’s one of the more refreshing YA adaptations I’ve seen.
Djata (Lorenzo Allchurch) lives in Homeland, a dystopian society, with his parents. His father Peter (Ross Partridge) is taken away by the authorities and branded a traitor, but not before telling Djata of hidden treasure. Djata and his mother (Agyness Deyn) are ostracised by the community and struggle to survive. He believes that by locating the treasure he can somehow free his father, whilst his mother desperately tries to persuade Colonel Fitz (Jonathan Pryce), Peter’s father, to help.
Whether by choice or necessity, Helfrecht and Tittel only have modest finances to play with. They address this problem brilliantly by approaching The White King as a low budget indie drama. The near-future dystopian world resolves around few locations, but with added touches which make it seem much bigger. This allows the acting to take centre stage, and once again Agyness Deyn proves she’s one of the best young British actors around. The White King is an impressive adaptation which is believable whilst wearing a cloak of mystery.
The White King is out in cinemas from Friday.