The Green Knight (2021)

green knight poster 2021 movie
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great cast and visuals

Slow paced, largely interpretational

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Green Knight

Studio:  Sailor Bear/BRON Studios/A24

Genre(s):   Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  July 30, 2021

MPAA Rating:  R

green knight dev patel skull gawain winifred

I’m having a hell of a year…

When the Green Knight (Ralph Ineson) appears to the court of Camelot on Christmas Day, he poses a challenge of a contest of blow for a blow…which Sir Gawain (Dev Patel) accepts.  The game does not go as expected, and Gawain finds himself bound by a promise to face the Green Knight a year to the day of their confrontation in the Green Knight’s chapel.  Gawain finds himself on an adventure to find the chapel and faces challenges…but the greatest challenge could be to his honor.

Written and directed by David Lowery, The Green Knight is a fantasy adventure.  It is an adaptation of the classic Middle-English epic Sir Gawain and the Green Knight which is a 14th century tale of chivalry.  The film was released to positive reviews.

The story of Gawain was always a strange one.  Gawain faces both a physical test and a test of virtue.  The virtue test becomes greater than the physical challenge and that is part of the lesson…but the lesson still is a strange one.

green knight giants

I saw this anime…those naked giants eat people

The story plays a bit with the classical legend, but even “the story” changes from telling to telling.  It updates Gawain to be the son of Morgan Le Fay who is Arthur’s sister (but in the versions of the Arthurian legend, Modred who is Morgan Le Fay’s son is also Arthur’s bastard child of incest…and that all feels kind of blended here).  The basic idea of honor is still there, but in the story, the Lord (played by Joel Edgerton) is also really the Green Knight…and a test by Morgan Le Fay.  Here, the Lord is independent of the Green Knight (maybe…it still is rather vague but a different actor portrays the Green Knight), but the test is relatively the same…an admission of guilt or acceptance is the ultimate goal.

Dev Patel is a good Gawain.  While there is sometimes criticism for “woke” inclusive casting by some, having Dev as an “outsider” among a largely white cast also works to the story’s advantage.  He wants to belong, and he wants what they have…his actions are those of someone wanting acceptance.  Alicia Vikander is a good as both Essel love interest and a foil as the Lady who seduces and forces Gawain to lose his chivalry in his approach to the quest.  Joel Edgerton is also good as the oddly accepting host of Gawain who is knowing but refusing to challenge him…forcing Gawain to make his own decisions.

green knight dev patel ending

Hey…this is a Christmas movie! Happy Holidays, Green Knight!

The big draw of the film is the look and sound of the film.  The film is extremely visual.  It is extremely bleak, but it is still loaded with powerful imagery.  The movie plays a lot with iconography and blends religion in with the visuals.  You have giants, talking foxes, monster knights, and headless ghosts.  It is a feast for the eyes.

The problem with The Green Knight is that it is very slow paced and the story has a lot of interpretation to it.  It doesn’t give viewers answers and requires a bit of a background in Arthurian legend to even understand what is occurring.  Like Gawain even what you think you know might not be right…the viewer is being tested as well.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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