Sunday, August 1, 2021

The Green Knight

Movie Name:
The Green Knight
Year of Release: 2021
Director: David Lowery
Starring: Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander, Sean Harris, Sarita Choudhury, Kate Dickie, Joel Edgerton, Ralph Ineson, Barry Keoghan, Erin Kellyman, Emilie Hetland, Anthony Morris
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8
View Trailer

Synopsis and Review:
Following the well received "A Ghost Story" and "The Old Man & The Gun", editor/writer/director David Lowery is back, this time around adapting the 14th century poem by the title of "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight". The film focuses its narrative thread on Gawain, the nephew of King Arthur, who lives a somewhat sheltered life in the court. When Christmas comes, and as he is celebrating the festive holiday season, the King asks him to sit with him, and tell him more about his life. Gawain confesses he has not done much, therefore has little to tell. Into court comes an unexpected guest, in the guise of a fantastical creature by the name of Green Knight. He sets out a challenge, that if anyone is able to land a blow on him, they will win his axe. However they must come to the Green Chapel the following year at the same time, and receive an equal wound in return. Gawain volunteers, and impulsively chops off the Knight's head. The fantastical creature picks his own head up and leaves, reminding Gawain of the game's rules. As the year passes by, Gawain's mother helps him get ready, donating him with a specially crafted belt with magical powers. As Gawain sets forth in his journey, his fears, doubts and uncertainties haunt him, coming across in the people he crosses paths with.
One of the most obviously evident and interesting aspects of this film, is how visually distinct David Lowery has managed to craft this story. Also, and just as importantly, he has managed to create a universe that feels palpably authentic, even if the fantastical elements creep up, giving the story an other worldly aspect to it, but still very visceral. The film has elements of John Borrman's "Excalibur", mixed with some of the work from Terrence Malick, but it definitely has its own unique and distinctive flavor. The odyssey-like journey Gawain embarks on, becomes a story of fear, mixed with seduction and mystery, all intended to test his perseverance and courage, essentially challenging him to rise to his own Knighthood. It's a film that has fantastical aspects to it, mixed with adventure and just enough poetry in motion, to give it a modern and resonant approach to the story. The cast, while featuring some strong performances from Dev Patel, Sarita Choudhury, Sean Harris and Joel Edgerton, fails to be quite as engaging with the casting of Alicia Vikander, who feels miscast in both roles she ends up playing. The cinematography from Andrew Droz Palermo is fantastic, as is the haunting score from Daniel Hart. A solid and compelling film from a very interesting director.