Review: ‘The Green Knight’ Movie Is Great Art, But Not Great Entertainment

Jul 30, 2021, 3:43 PM | Updated: Nov 13, 2021, 7:49 am

SALT LAKE CITY — The tales of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table are centuries-old legends, and many films have been set in that era. Most predictably focus on Arthur, Merlin or Lancelot. But “The Green Knight” from A24 Films departs from this, and follows one of the lesser-known knights on an adventure based on a 14th century epic poem.

Dev Patel stars in THE GREEN KNIGHT, only in theaters July 30, 2021.

Dev Patel (“Slumdog Millionaire,” “Lion”) plays Sir Gawain, nephew to Sean Harris‘ king (Arthur, though he’s never named in the movie). On Christmas Day a mysterious knight in green armor shows up to the king’s court and throws down a challenge: Whoever is willing to face him in battle and can land a blow with a sword, that person will gain great wealth and fame.

But there’s a catch: That person has to travel to the Green Knight’s land one year later and allow the Knight to give back the exact same blow in return.

Gawain volunteers and beheads the Knight, but he and everyone else is shocked when the Knight’s headless body stands up, picks up the head and walks out of the room reminding them that Gawain will receive the same blow in one year’s time, and he better show up.

The rest of the movie follows Gawain on his journey to meet his destiny and the tests he faces along the way.

This was one of the weirdest movies I’ve ever seen, though director David Lowery (“The Old Man and the Gun” & Disney’s live-action “Pete’s Dragon“) does show a particular talent for gorgeous visuals and imaginative cinematography.

The casting was solid. Along with Patel and Harris, you’ll also see Academy Award nominee Alicia Vikander and Joel Edgerton.

But “The Green Knight” is not your typical summer popcorn film. It feels longer than its two-hour and 12-minute run time, and there are LONG stretches of the movie where nobody speaks at all.

It’s visually impressive but hard to follow.

I feel like the trailer sells you a different kind of movie than what you actually get.

So the biggest warning I can give before you see the film is to familiarize yourself with the basics of the old legend on which the movie is based, “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.” It truly will help your viewing experience.

Honestly, this is the kind of movie that your college professor makes the class watch after you’ve read and studied the old poem.

It’s definitely cinema as art, but not so much cinema as entertainment.

“The Green Knight” is rated R for violence, sexuality and nudity and is playing only in theaters.

Interested in seeing the movie? Watch the video at the top of the page for my full, in-depth review & final rating.


Director David Lowery gives instructions to Ralph Ineson & Dev Patel on the set of THE GREEN KNIGHT. Dev Patel as Gawain in THE GREEN KNIGHT from A24 Films Essel (Alicia Vikander) tempts Gawain's (Dev Patel) virtue The Lord (Joel Edgerton) sits for a meal in A24 Films' THE GREEN KNIGHT Dev Patel as Gawain in A24 Films' THE GREEN KNIGHT. Gawain (Dev Patel) holds the King's (Sean Harris) sword in A24 Films' THE GREEN KNIGHT. The Green Knight arrives to drop a challenge in the King's court in A24 Films' THE GREEN KNIGHT Dev Patel stars in THE GREEN KNIGHT, only in theaters July 30, 2021.

Hopefully you & your family found this review helpful! Andy Farnsworth is the movie and pop culture guy for the KSL 5 Today morning news show and also hosts the Fan Effect podcast for KSL NewsRadio. Check out some of his other in-depth reviews of movies and streaming TV series on

KSL 5 TV Live

Movie Reviews

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Ryan Gosling, left, and Margot Robbie in a scene...

Associated Press

The ‘Barbie’ bonanza continues at the box office, ‘Oppenheimer’ holds the No. 2 spot

“Barbie” leads the box office over “Oppenheimer" by over 40 million dollars.

2 months ago

Roger Gonzalez and Gaby Camacho, interview Sophia Lillis (C), at the Mexico City premiere of Paramo...

Jake Coyle

‘Dungeons & Dragons’ opens with $38.5M, takes down John Wick

Riding terrific reviews and a strong word-of-mouth, the role playing game adaptation "Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves" opened with $38.5 million in U.S. and Canadian movie theaters over the weekend.

6 months ago

This image released by Universal Pictures shows a scene from "Cocaine Bear," directed by Elizabeth ...

Associated Press

‘Cocaine Bear’ gets high with $23.1M, ‘Ant-Man’ sinks fast

The gonzo R-rated horror comedy “Cocaine Bear" sniffed up $23.1 million in its opening weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday, while Marvel's “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” was quickly dwarfed in its second weekend.

7 months ago

United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh poses for an official portrait at the...

Lindsey Bahr

Sundance doc looks into Brett Kavanaugh investigation

A new documentary looks into the sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

8 months ago

Javon "Wanna" Walton (left) as Sam Cleary and Sylvester Stallone (right) as Joe Smith in SAMARITAN,...


REVIEW: Stallone’s ‘Samaritan’ stops short of superhero movie success

Sylvester Stallone's latest movie SAMARITAN sees him as a garbage man that a teenage neighbor believes to be a superhero in hiding. KSL's Andy Farnsworth says there are some cool moments that action and superhero movie fans will enjoy, but overall thinks it's good that the movie is only streaming on Prime Video and not in theaters.

1 year ago

(L to R) Thira ‘Aum’ Chutikul as Commander Kiet, Popetorn ‘Two’ Soonthornyanaku as Dr Karn,...


REVIEW: ‘Thirteen Lives’ movie dramatically tells real rescue story of Thai soccer team from flooded cave

In THIRTEEN LIVES, a true story-based movie on Amazon Prime about the rescue of a teenage soccer team from a flooded cave in Thailand, director Ron Howard manages to pull off the feat of balancing truth with drama without turning it into a documentary. KSL's Andy Farnsworth says it was an emotionally-engaging movie that showcases the triumph of human effort and spirit when we work together to solve a problem.

1 year ago

Sponsored Articles

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

rodeo contestant on a saddle bronc...


Get Ready for the Days of ‘47 Rodeo!

The Days of '47 Rodeo is a series of events everyone in the family can enjoy, with world-class rodeo contestants vying for the gold medal.

Electric LED Lightbulb Change In Light At Home...

Lighting Design

How to Know When to Upgrade Your Lighting

This guide explores indicators that suggest it’s time for a lighting upgrade with tips to make an informed decision when you’re ready to buy. 

Brunette guy in headphones playing games on his desktop computer...

PC Laptops

Looking For a New Computer? Use This Desktop Buying Guide

Choosing a new desktop computer can come with a lot of questions, so we created this desktop buying guide.

Review: ‘The Green Knight’ Movie Is Great Art, But Not Great Entertainment