King David is an intensely literal telling of familiar portions of the saga of Israel’s first two rulers, more historical in approach than religious.
David moves from one monumental event to the next, trying to cover as much of the story as possible. The result is to minimize each step and every complex relationship (and doubtlessly confuse many of those who haven’t been to Sunday School for awhile).
Though the overall problems may not be of his making, Richard Gere is of little help in the title role. Granted, he could have been truly awful (which he isn’t), but he doesn’t seem comfortable, either.
Holding back, Gere rarely makes it felt why he loves Absalom so, or lusts after Bathsheba or tolerates Saul’s persecution beyond the fact that it says so in the Bible (or in the script).
David really isn’t as trifling as quick summary makes it seem. There’s a lot of history here, brought to life with good period film work and performances are generally fine.