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 (“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.
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.
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 KSLTV.com.