THE GREEN KNIGHT (2021) Reviews and overview

 

The Green Knight is a 2021 American-Irish dark fantasy feature film re-telling of the medieval story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

Written and directed by David Lowery (A Ghost Story; Pete’s Dragon), the movie stars Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander, Joel Edgerton and Sarita Choudhury.

Plot:

Sir Gawain (Dev Patel), King Arthur’s reckless and headstrong nephew, embarks on a daring quest to confront the eponymous Green Knight, a gigantic emerald-skinned stranger and tester of men.

Along the way, 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…

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Reviews:

“Rich with atmosphere and metaphor, propelled by a soundtrack of hollow strums and whispering strings, David Lowery’s The Green Knight is a kind of artisanal fantasy epic, whittling Arthurian legend into the rough shape of one of distributor A24’s arty horror mood pieces. Over two-plus hours, the film never stops dazzling the viewer with mythic imagery.” AV Club

The Green Knight is a meaty, heady tale. Every single component of production is executed to perfection. Lowery doesn’t distill the poem’s themes to their basics; the filmmaker somehow breathlessly tackles it all. It’s a triumphant cinematic experience […] It’s as mesmerizing as it is unexpected, transporting you instantly on a beguiling, surreal journey that gets under your skin and refuses to leave.” Bloody Disgusting

“Serving here as his own editor, the director pays close attention to that extra beat or longer-than-usual take, by which we’re pulled into a world and a rhythm not like most movies. The movie’s more ruminative than exuberant. It’s also fully invested in making its own kind of magic, on its own time […] Largely nonverbal and reactive to events, Patel serves the film, valiantly.” Chicago Tribune

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“The film is a slow, mournful rumination on our desires to live forever through story, song, and deed — a fitting adaptation from the director of A Ghost Story, another movie deeply interested in facing death head-on. (It’s also certain to be an unconventional Christmas classic for a certain breed of film fan, which I wholly endorse.) However you slice it, it’s an easy candidate for one of the year’s best.” Consequence

The Green Knight is a bold artistic statement, inspired by the history of Arthurian legend, though it’s not exactly an Arthurian tale. If there’s a bone to pick, it’s that Lowery goes a bit overboard on “being different.” It’s almost as if he’s trying not to make a King Arthur movie. As an experience of mood, tone, style and atmosphere, however, it’s right up there with A24’s Hereditary and The Lighthouse, a nightmare forged in blood, guts, myth, mist and mystery.” Daily Dead

“In The Green Knight, the infinite mysteries of the natural world are reframed in an Arthurian retelling so strange and so seductive that it’s hard to stop the film from taking hold inside your brain and burrowing itself underneath your skin until your veins turn into roots and your blood changes to water. It’s a transportive experience…” /Film

” …some segments do occasionally feel like they drag, and the film is always at its most irresistibly compelling when antagonistic Green Knight is playing head games, literally and metaphorically. The journey leaves a lot to digest and unpack, but at face value, The Green Knight tells an enthrallingly hypnotic cautionary tale about honor, packed with some of the most potent acting and craftsmanship likely to be seen in a film all year.” Flickering Myth

“This is a boldly unconventional film full of beguiling ambiguities, which eschews the hard-charging action and self-consciously modern attitudes that made the King Arthur entries of Antoine Fuqua and Guy Ritchie such generic duds. Instead, it embraces the strange remoteness of myth and Middle Ages lore on its own terms and creates something quietly dazzling and new.” The Hollywood Reporter

The Green Knight is truly astounding. Defying the standards for Arthurian legend adaptations, it heavily favors atmosphere and mood over action and monologues. Substantial performances marry with director David Lowery’s sumptuous style to create a film that is sensational, less about story than the experience.” IGN

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The Green Knight is an intimate epic told with the self-conviction that its hero struggles to find at every turn. Stoned out of its mind and shot with a genre-tweaking mastery that should make John Boorman proud, it’s also the rare movie that knows exactly what it is, which is an even rarer movie that’s perfectly comfortable not knowing exactly what it is.” IndieWire

“Lowery intends more for the audience to sink into the world of The Green Knight, letting it play out more like a strangely sensual and unsettling dream that we can live and breathe in rather than an action-packed adventure. So do not go in expecting something like Beastmaster […] The Green Knight is a stunning triumph that delivers on what the word “fantasy” actually means.” Killer Horror Critic

“Told in sumptuously gritty imagery, this epic feat of bold imagination, unconcerned with mitigating its creative force for the sake of unadventurous audiences, has an unconventional film grammar and irregular structure that peers into the different possible outcomes of the would-be paladin’s trek […] Nothing behaves as expected in Lowery’s thematically rich and visually rousing knight’s tale.” The Playlist

“Lowery more than catches an attentive audience’s attention with this film. His dazzling visuals, brilliant spectacle, and petrifying sequences are enrapturing. Likewise, Patel finally lays claim to the leading-man mantle so often bequeathed to him, yet so rarely earned. His career-defining performance should establish him as an actor made for big, grand epics. Lowery’s The Green Knight is cinema’s best Arthurian adaptation…” Polygon

The Green Knight asks a lot of its viewers—to stay engaged with what could be called its slow pace, to consider its themes without them being underlined for easy consumption, to be willing to see a film about famous knight that contains very little in the way of traditional heroism. It is scary, sexy, and strange in ways that American films are rarely allowed to be, culminating in a sequence that cast the whole film in a new light for this viewer.” RogerEbert.com

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“Writer-director David Lowery’s adaptation of Sir Gawain And The Green Knight immerses itself in period details while taking a refreshingly straightforward approach to the fantasy elements — a bold strategy that, if anything, only makes them more mystical. But underneath this story of giants, ghosts, friendly foxes and dastardly bandits is a resonant (and pessimistic) glimpse at a brutal society in which honour is hard to come by.” Screen Daily

“There are shades of Ingmar Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal” and John Boorman’s “Excalibur” in “The Green Knight,” although Lowery’s film feels wonderfully fresh mining old-school legend. The filmmaker delves into the ancient push-and-pull between Christianity and Paganism with frequent use of religious imagery and puts together a sensational climactic sequence that out-cools most episodes of “Game of Thrones.” USA Today

” …what are we to make of a misty, lavishly scaled medieval odyssey, full of ghosts and magic and hallucinations and wandering, that adapts — and does its best to stay true to — “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,” […] As a movie, The Green Knight feels like it was scraped out of the deepest, muddiest archaeological sediment of the Age of Chivalry.” Variety

“There are only a few questions that The Green Knight doesn’t have ungenerous answers to, and it shows whenever Lowery and his team can’t bridge the gap between the movie’s images and their emotional content. So while there’s a lot of commendable chutzpah and curious longing baked into The Green Knight, the movie’s never as compelling as it is unusual.” The Wrap

Critics’ tweets:

Shannon McGrew of Nightmarish Conjurings wrote, “#TheGreenKnight is nothing short of magnificent. With visuals that belong in a museum for all to admire and a career-defining performance by Dev Patel, The Green Knight is a slow-burn tale about mortality and the journey of finding oneself.”

Features editor of Screen Rant, Alisha Grauso, praises the adaptation: “#TheGreenKnight is everything I could have hoped for in an adaptation of Arthurian legend.”

Steven Weintraub of Collider stated, “Lowery has brilliantly adapted the timeless Arthurian legend into a unique and original film that I can’t wait to see again.”

Release:

The Green Knight will be released by A24 on July 30, 2021. The movie has been rated ‘R’.

Cast and characters:

Dev Patel … Gawain
Alicia Vikander … Lady / Essel
Joel Edgerton … Lord
Sarita Choudhury … Mother
Sean Harris … King
Kate Dickie … Queen
Barry Keoghan … Scavenger
Erin Kellyman … Winfred
Helena Browne … Blindfolded Woman
Ralph Ineson … Green Knight
Emilie Hetland … First Thief
Anthony Morris … Second Thief
Megan Tiernan … Princess / Gawain’s Queen
Noelle Brown … Sharecropper’s Wife
Aaron Edo … Soldier #2

Technical details:

Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1
Audio: Dolby Digital

Teaser:

Trailer:

Featurette:

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