Photo by Eric Zachanowich/A24 Films

Film Review: The Green Knight

11:00 August 11, 2021
By: Fritz Esker

Ever since the early 80s saw a brief explosion of R-rated sword-and-sorcery films, movies about knights have been overwhelmingly aimed at kids/adolescents. So it's nice that director David Lowery (2018's excellent The Old Man and the Gun) has adapted the Arthurian story Sir Gawain and the Green Knight into the R-rated The Green Knight. Unfortunately, the film only sometimes succeeds.

The story starts on Christmas Day at King Arthur's Round Table. A monstrous green knight enters and dares anyone present to take a shot at him. The catch is the participating knight will have to receive the same blow he gives. Gawain (Dev Patel) chops the Green Knight's head off. The Green Knight picks his head up, tells Gawain he'll see him in a year, and leaves. Gawain is then left to ponder whether he should face his fate or try to escape it.

On his journey to face the Green Knight, Gawain encounters bandits, ghosts, and mythical creatures. It's always beautiful to look at, but the pacing is often slow. The film interrupts its climax with a long fantasy sequence that adds nothing to the proceedings and undermines the tension.

The Green Knight deserves some points for its efforts in making an adult medieval fantasy film, but it left me wanting more.

**1/2 stars (out of four)

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