I Served the King of England

Rated 4.0

Czech writer/director/actor Jirí Menzel’s Closely Watched Trains won an Oscar in 1968, but he hadn’t directed a feature film for more than a decade before making the smutty 2007 charmer I Served the King of England. The film follows Jan Díte, a diminutive 1930s servant single-mindedly focused on wealth, prestige and beautiful women. Díte obtains them all through fantastic, often hilarious circumstances, but his lack of ethical awareness becomes problematic when he falls for a cute, fervent Nazi. Menzel melds fantasy, brutal reality and slapstick comedy into a unique satire of avarice and ambition that’s just a touch too precious. Ivan Barnev gives a near-silent performance as young Díte, and at times the movie plays like Chaplin’s lost sex comedy.