Steve Rahaman is back with yet another riveting take on the human condition in his latest film To Be King. Rahaman delivers a script well executed by his actors, which portrays the lengths a father will take to lead an exemplary life for his child, defying all odds and breaking the mold of a man trapped in the “street” life.
This story is much more involving than his previous films as it brings together the values of family loyalty, redemption and determination. Nigel Harvey delivers a heartfelt performance as up and coming boxer Tyrone King. His character faces obstacles both in and out of the ring and is pushed to the limits as he struggles to escape the shadows of his father’s legacy in order to create his own path.
Miriam Morales gives a breakthrough performance in her first full length film capturing the audience as Sharon Stills, the mother of King’s daughter. Not only is she believable but her performance is also flawless, authentic and is worthy of praise.
Kamel Goffin, who plays Wesley King, Tyrone’s younger brother, gives a genuine portrait of a young man struggling to break free of the life of crime he is subjected to. Viewers keep a look out, Goffin’s capacity as an actor is sure to transform him from supporting to leading actor.
Frank Merlino and Tommy Clohessy, who have worked both together and with Rahaman in the past, unite once again to play the roles of King’s trainer and promoter. This film pushes Merlino’s abilities as an actor and gives him a chance to stand in the spotlight. His role as Uncle Frank provides a platform for Merlino to showcase his talents and in doing so, Merlino shines.
Clohessy, who is a natural, steals each of his scenes as the corrupt promoter Jimmy O’Reilly and as expected performed brilliantly.
Clarissa Martinez, the social service worker, played by Rosie Moss and Nya Harvey, who is Harvey’s real life daughter and plays the role of King’s daughter in the movie, adds to the dimension of the film and King’s character as the audience sees a softer, loving side of the boxer. Both Moss and the young Harvey performed with grace and sincerity.
To Be King is more than just a boxing film. It is film about loyalty, love and liberation. Rahaman manages to bring the story to life with the use of powerful, gripping dialog and a plot that is conducive to his works. His growth as a director is evident with each new film and is an indicator of what is to be expected of him as a director in this industry. The story flows well throughout the film and leaves audiences with a sense of triumph and hope. This is definitely one of, if not Rahaman’s best works thus far.