TL;DR – Visually visceral, narratively interesting, and almost entirely engaging.
Post-Credit Scene – There is a post-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime subscription that viewed this movie.
The Green Knight Review –
Everyone has a narrative style that they are just a sucker for, it could be road trip movies or WW2 war films, or like me, it is taking myths from the old and reinterpreting in a modern context. This can be the bombasticness of Greek Legend, the sharpness of Norse Legend, or, as we get today, the weirdness of Arthurian Mythology.
So to set the scene, we start the film with a bucket of water in the face as Gawain (Dev Patel) is woken up in a brothel by his lover Essel (Alicia Vikander). Gawain might be hungover, but it is Christmas morning, and Gawain has duties to attend to. While his Mother (Sarita Choudhury) stays at home, Gawain heads to the keep to the feast of King Arthur (Sean Harris) and Queen Guinevere (Kate Dickie). However, a stranger on horseback arrived during the feast, a man made of bark and leaves, the Green Knight (Ralph Ineson). Walking up to the King, he lays out a challenge, and Gawain is the only one to take up the charge.
There are so many things this film is doing right, and I want to start with the production. I am not sure if any other movie this year has excelled in its use of locations like The Green Knight. Okay, maybe Dune, but it is a close contest. Every moment in the film is so deliberately framed that not a single cut is wasted. Every frame sucks you into this world, even if they maybe go a touch heavy with the smoke machine. I have to give full respect to the location scouts for finding the most photogenic parts of Ireland to fill every moment on screen. This is supported by a soundscape oscillating between the sounds of nature, silence, and a haunting musical score. Every part of the production is supported by some of the tightest editing I have seen this year, where we get a film that can pull off cutting frantically between two consecutive ceremonies and long takes that sit there and let you breathe or grab your full attention.
The other strength of the film is its cast. This cast has no weak links, with every moment captivating you with their performances. Of course, Dev Patel is at the forefront of the film. You feel the weight of a character that is clearly out of his depth as he walks through this supernatural world where nothing is quite like it seems. He is the only constant throughout the film, but he is also supported by a cast that is giving it their all at every turn. Barry Keoghan gets to just revel in his role, and he is at his best when he gets to be weird and compelling. Ralph Ineson is strangely charming as the titular Green Knight while also being the personification of a world not of this world. Joel Edgerton and Alicia Vikander also make the most of every moment on screen.
Because this film immerses itself in allegory, mysticism, myth, religion, supernatural, and prophecy, it makes The Green Knight a film that will always have you wondering what is real? Or is any of this real? This is one of the movie’s great strengths and one of its weaknesses. I found myself being emotionally exhausted when the film reached its climax. It all just became a little overwhelming, so some of the ambiguities became frustrations. Also, I am not quite sure how the inciting incident and the conclusion fit.
In the end, do we recommend The Green Knight? Well, I don’t think it captured me all the way to the end. When it did have me in its grasp, it was a delight, and if nothing else, the production and acting will bring your through. If you liked The Green Knight, we would also recommend to you The OA.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Green Knight
Directed by – David Lowery
Written by – David Lowery
Based on – Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Music by – Daniel Hart
Cinematography by – Andrew Droz Palermo
Edited by – David Lowery
Production/Distribution Companies – Ley Line Entertainment, Bron Creative, Wild Atlantic Pictures, Sailor Bear, A24 & Amazon Prime
Starring – Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander, Joel Edgerton, Sarita Choudhury, Sean Harris, Ralph Ineson, Barry Keoghan, Erin Kellyman, Kate Dickie, Atheena Frizzell, Nita Mishra, Tara McDonagh, Helena Browne, Megan Tiernan, Emmet O’Brien & Patrick Duffy
Rating – Australia: MA15+; Canada: 14A; Germany: 16; New Zealand: na; United Kingdom: 15; United States: R