PG Score: 7.75/10
The Green Knight was released in theaters on 7/30/21
The Green Knight is an ancient story of honor, courage, sex, and magic. Set in the age of King Arthur and the Round Table, the film is based on the poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, itself having been adapted several times. The Green Knight is a unique tale about the coming of age of a young man in the Middle Ages with great expectations laid upon him.
Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire, Hotel Mumbai) stars as Gawain, the nephew of King Arthur and son of Arthur’s sister, Morgan le Fay. He is a young man who has led a simple life of drinking and sex, but the shadow of his Uncle looms large as he desires to make a name for himself and earn his place among such legends of the Round Table. He accepts the Christmas Day challenge from the Green Knight in place of the past-his-prime King Arthur (Sean Harris of Mission Impossible fame). There is more to the challenge than meets the eye and Gawain’s acceptance of it sets in motion the true purpose of the story.
It is a year later when Gawain’s journey truly begins. The story jumps pretty quickly to a year later after the challenge is accepted. The challenge made by the Green Knight (voiced by Ralph Ineson) doesn’t instill an instant change in Gawain, as his day-to-day does not truly change. When he heads out his confidence is surprising, but there is just a subtle hint of worry behind his veneer.
Dev Patel does a great job of leading this film, having only minor interactions with the majority of the supporting cast that help propel the story forward from Camelot all the way to the Green Chapel. Gawain is tested several times on his journey and that is heavily influenced by magic. Be it interactions with the Scavenger (Barry Keoghan) or the Lord (Joel Edgerton), there are lessons for Gawain to learn and grow. Another wonderful performance is turned in by Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, Tomb Raider) who plays two roles, one being the sex worker Essel that Gawain has a relationship with and the other being the Lady to Joel Edgerton’s (Black Mass, Warrior) Lord. She presents many challenges and possibilities for Gawain and with her soft raspy voice, she pulls off the accent very well.
The cinematography is lovely and the scenery and back drops really capture 14th century England. A wonderful use of period music helps to capture the setting and really brings you back to that time period. The dull natural colors worked well combining and contrasting with certain costumes, especially Gawain’s attire. One gripe about the film is how they broke the film into chapters. While that alone wasn’t a bad idea and helped move the plot along, the font they used wasn’t always easy to read and wasn’t on screen long enough for you to decipher it.
A Worthwhile Arthurian Retelling
The Green Knight was a fun and weird film that was led superbly by Dev Patel and his supporting cast. Not a whole lot of action when compared to tales of knights, The Green Knight steered towards the mystical side and relied heavily on the dialogue of the actors. The Green Knight is enjoyable enough to set some time aside to watch but if you’re looking for action, pass on this film. It captures the bizarre and magical and gives us a fresh look at an old Arthurian Legend.