The Green Knight
Writer-director David Lowery (A Ghost Story) turns Arthurian legend on its head in The Green Knight to deliver an intoxicating fantasy adventure which grapples with ideas rarely seen in this genre. The result is a magical and mysterious cinematic experience that will have viewers glued to the screen in awe.
Dev Patel stars as Gawain, King Arthur’s nephew. He’s a rambunctious youngster who dreams of becoming an honourable and valiant hero. During the Christmas festivities, he gets the chance he’s been waiting for when the titular knight (a menacing Ralph Ineson) challenges a brave warrior to land a blow on him and claim glory if victorious. However, they must confront the knight one year later so that he may inflict the same blow in return. Believing that he’s bested the knight at his game, the protagonist decapitates him, but to his dismay the knight picks up his head and rides off cackling. Gawain has sealed his own doom.
One year soon passes and our hero must embark on a journey to face his fate, encountering ghosts, giants and other strange happenings on the way. He’ll pass vast valleys, eerie forests and dank caves, each of which is given its own distinct visual flavour thanks to eye-popping cinematography from Andrew Droz Palermo (who also worked with Lowery on A Ghost Story). Rich hues of gold, red and green wash over these misty and miserable environments, giving the feature an otherworldly fairy-tale feel that provide a counterpoint to the bleak realities of the protagonist’s quest.
Likewise, the score (composed by Daniel Hart, another collaborator on A Ghost Story) plays a key role in shaping the film’s mystical world. The playful percussion and pipes which characterise the opening soon give way to shrill vocals and dissonant strings that cast ominous shadows over proceedings. The overall tone is a beautiful but strange one. It draws viewers into the surreal reality of this storybook-like realm whilst smartly complementing the complex character study at its heart.
At the centre of it all is Patel in a monumental, career-defining performance. His Gawain is conflicted, unsure if he’s worthy of being the hero he desires to be. With The Green Knight, Lowery aims to deconstruct what it means to be a hero, and he does so with flare and elegance.
The Green Knight is released nationwide on 24th September 2021.
Watch the trailer for The Green Knight here: