The Green Knight. A review


The Green Knight is a real mixed bag of a movie that feels quite disjointed at parts, but it does have a lot of good things going for it.

An elderly King Arthur plays a minor role in this adaptation of an early English epic poem, staring Dev Patel as Gawain, a minor knight from Arthur’s round table. One Christmas, a mysterious and gigantic green knight comes to challenge anyone who dares to deliver the deadliest blow they can and in one year, the Green Knight will be able to do the same to them. King Arthur and his rapidly aging knights are either unwilling or unable to take up the challenge. So as the young, up and coming knight at the castle, Gawain takes up the challenge.

Once Gawain has chopped off the magical knights head, the giant simply picks his head back up and leaves, reminding Gawain that he has to go and find him in a year to face the same fate. Honor-bound, but unenthusiastic, Gawain goes to find the knight the next year.

The rest of the movie is where the story sways wildly in quality. It feels like a series of video game levels as Gawain either wanders, or improbably survives, from one set of scenes to another.

This is where the problems come up as some of the sequences are much more interesting than others. Magic, flashbacks and dream sequences are relied upon heavily, with varying degrees of success. The sometimes meandering plot and sometime unclear series of metaphors makes the viewer really feel the two hour and ten minute runtime.

That being said, there is a lot to like here. The actors, first and foremost, all give excellent performances. Patel solidly carries the film – alone for long stretches – with a performance that is hard to find fault with. All of the supporting actors – Joel Edgerton (who played Falstaff in Nextflix’s The King) as, Barry Keoghan (who played George in Dunkirk) as, Kate Dickie (who played Lysa Arryn in Game of Thrones) as, and Sean Harris (who plays Solomon Lane in the Mission Impossible franchise) as King Arthur – all played their admittedly brief parts just as well as Patel. And everything else in the production – from the costumes, to the CGI, to the makeup, to the lighting, to especially the cinematography and sound design – is Oscar-worthy. It just felt like the script and editing could have been tighter and clearer.

The untidy, often confusing script and the editing that left too much time on moody establishing shots is why this film is such a mixed bag. Go see it if you really like fantasy stories like the Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones. But if you aren’t interested in stories that revolve around magic, horror, magic, sword fights and more magic, then this film might not be for you.

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