‘463 AD. A nation in need of a legend.’
Arthur & Merlin: Knights of Camelot is a 2020 British fantasy adventure feature film about the King’s campaign to get his crown back…
Directed by Giles Alderson (Hamlet; The Dare; World of Darkness) from a screenplay co-written with Simon Cotton and Jonny Grant, the Dagger Films-Picture Perfect production stars Richard Brake (Game of Thrones; 3 from Hell; Mandy; Halloween II; et al), Richard Short (The Dare; American Horror Story), Ronan Summers (The Dare; Dead in Tombstone) and Stella Stocker (Blithe Spirit; Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation).
The year 463 AD. England is a land divided. A land in need of a legend. King Arthur (Richard Short) has been absent for five long years, fighting a war abroad that has stricken his knights, left his throne defenceless and his queen at the mercy of Mordred (Joel Phillimore), his illegitimate son. He must return home fast, facing dark and dangerous threats from all sides.
However, as he fights to preserve Camelot and all that he holds dear, the toughest conflict will be with himself. Guided by the legendary wizard Merlin (Richard Brake), Arthur must strive to become the king that his nation needs…
“For a stripped-back Arthur, a character study of a king who has lost faith in himself and his role, there’s an awful lot thrown in here, without the time, budget or real insight to do it all justice: bits of magic, some smoke, some prophecy, a betrayal.” Caution Spoilers
“For the most part, the film is a matter of Short and his rag-tag gaggle of scowling, hard-nut knights stomping around the same bit of Welsh woodland and barking in cod Olde English, while Merlin (played by Richard Brake, aka Joe Chill from Batman Begins) pops up in two scenes — with a literal “pop”, weirdly, the second time — to talk bollocks for a few minutes…” Empire
“Alderson’s film acquits itself better than some entries in the genre by dint of the fact that it has an idea of its own and doesn’t just go through the motions, telling us a tale we all know already. Nevertheless, it feels padded and overlong, with an awful lot of running about that doesn’t achieve or communicate much.” Eye for Film
“The sets are impressive as are the costumes, Jennifer Matter scowls with sinister delight as the evil Vortigone and Nick Samuel’s score add to the atmosphere, but unfortunately the overall feel is one of a filler episode of an average TV show rather than the swashbuckling, exciting adventure aimed for.” For Your Films Only
“The performances in the film are not the strongest, with most of the cast struggling to make their character feel like they are reaching the bigger impact […] This is another one of those King Arthur storylines that tries to bring something new, only to end up feeling like it is just ripping off Game of Thrones.” Movie Reviews 101
” …director Giles Alderson has done a great job of bringing us a fresh take on the Arthur and Merlin tale. I loved the use of natural lighting here because, yes, this movie was shot in Wales – where it most likely rained every day but that’s the country we live in and it lends itself to the gritty dark aspect of the movie… which is perfect. The script has one or two moments of “eh?” but any cracks are paved over with solid performances.” Nerdly
“Richard Short played a miserable Arthur, Stella Stocker played a frankly snotty Guinevere, and Joel Phillimore the amateur monarch Mordred. They were all dull and way too sincere. Merlin was played by possibly the biggest name, Richard Brake, but he seemed as bored as me! None of this was helped by the painfully wooden dialogue.” Ready Steady Cut!
“Richard Brake appears from a puff of smoke looking like Gandalf on a bad acid trip, spouts some inspiring words to a doubtful Arthur, and is never seen again […] The remaining elements of the film scream bargain bin at Poundland. The action is cheap, with 95% of it coming at the very end anyway and Camelot seems to have a population of around 15.” Review Avenue
In the UK, Arthur & Merlin: Knights of Camelot is released on Digital HD and DVD by Signature Entertainment on 13th July 2020.
Cast and characters:
Richard Brake … Merlin
Richard Short … Arthur
Ronan Summers … Lucan
Stella Stocker … Guinevere
Olivia Bernstone … Tabitha
Joe Egan … The Beast
Emily Haigh … Lady of the Lake
Ian Sharp … Gareth
Stefan Boehm … Owain
Jennifer Matter … Vortigone
Tim Fellingham … Lancelot
Paul Marc Davis … Agravain
Audrey L’Ebrellec … Laudine
Joel Phillimore … Mordred
James G. Nunn … Tristram
Cinematographer Andrew Rodger (The Dare) shot the entire film using only natural light. Extra bright candles were brought in order to provide light.