The Green Knight
review by Michael Fraley
Over the last few years, A24 has made a name for themselves offering up counter-programming to Marvel action and big studio horror offerings. Each entry brings a new vision to the theater, from the madness of The Lighthouse to the utter creepiness of Hereditary. They've continued to produce award winning original features at a time when most studios present cut and paste sequels and reboots. Their newest addition is The Green Knight, based on the Arthurian legend, but can this newest vision continue A24's list of critically acclaimed films, or is this a sword that should have been left in the stone?
The Green Knight follows the story of Sir Gawain, King Arthur's reckless and headstrong nephew, who embarks on a daring quest to confront the eponymous Green Knight, a gigantic emerald-skinned stranger and tester of men. Gawain contends with ghosts, giants, thieves, and schemers in what becomes a deeper journey to define his character and prove his worth in the eyes of his family and kingdom by facing the ultimate challenger.
Dev Patel stars as Gawain, the nephew of King Arthur. He's yet to have embraced his role as a knight of the round table and is simply enjoying the drinking and the women that his noble role offers. This all changes when The Green Knight appears at a Christmas dinner offering his challenge. He will accept one blow from anyone present, but they must agree to meet him in one year, so that he might return the exact blow. Gawain jumps at the chance and beheads the knight, setting his path in motion.
As with most of A24's films, this is a slow burn. It trades in car chases and explosions for jarring visuals and in depth storytelling. If you're looking for sword fights or medieval warfare, this isn't for you. There is very little action, but instead we follow Gawain as he tries to find the faith in himself to complete his quest and overcome the obstacles in his path. Writer/director David Lowery creates an oddly muddled but very vibrant feeling world, and Dev Patel truly
brings the viewer into what Gawain is feeling. The rest of the cast is great as well with Sean Harris and Kate Dickie bringing a wonderful, aging nobility to the King and Queen, and Joel Edgerton eating up his scenes as the Lord.
As with many movies in the theater this summer, The Green Knight was a victim of Covid rescheduling. Of everything due out last year, this was the one I was the most excited for, and it did not disappoint. It will not be for everyone. It also makes some changes from the story of Gawain and the Green Knight for those that have read the tale. But, if you take the time to let the visuals and the amazing score and soundtrack pull you in, you'll find yourself enthralled by the magic on the screen.
The Green Knight is written and directed by David Lowery and stars Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander, Joel Edgerton, and Sean Harris. In addition to the film this release also features bonus content including trailer and featurettes taking you behind bringing this film to life. Grab your copy of The Green Knight available now on 4K, Blu-ray, DVD and digital from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.