‘The Green Knight’: Is this retelling of Sir Gawain’s story actually good?
The Green Knight is an adaptation of the story Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Dev Patel plays Sir Gawain, and the green knight is the green-clad man he sets out to kill. The film also stars Alicia Vikander and Joel Edgerton and is directed by famed indie director David Lowery. (Fun fact: Joel Edgerton once played Sir Gawain in another Arthurian movie adaptation, King Arthur in 2004).
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a poem about one of the less famous knights of the round table. The author of the poem, written centuries ago, is still unknown. Patel’s Sir Gawain is itching for more from his life and looking to prove himself like others around him. His uncle is King Arthur, so he feels he has a lot to live up to.
The movie changes the character from the poem. Traditionally, knights of the round table are brave & honorable from the start. When we pick up with Gawain, he’s not established or honorable yet, though he wants to be. His life is in a period of stagnation.
We keep coming back to Arthurian legends due to the excitement of the time period and the themes of honor that don’t exactly translate clearly to the modern-day. The Green Knight offers more of this, but in a way people haven’t seen before. In this case, honor means an appointment with death.
UK release pulled
Theaters in the UK have halted the release of A24’s The Green Knight out of concern for a surge in coronavirus cases across the country. This is disappointing for those who’ve been waiting for a long time to finally see the movie, which was originally supposed to premiere last year.
Its release was postponed due to COVID-19 after the entire festival it was meant to premiere was canceled altogether. During this time the director spent a lot of time re-editing the project.
It’s unclear when the film will get its theatrical release in the UK at this point. While other countries have lifted COVID-19 restrictions, the UK has recently faced more cases due to the Delta variant.
Reviews are in
So far, The Green Knight has been met with overwhelmingly positive reviews. Dev Patel’s take on Sir Gawain has been described as refreshing since this version of the character doesn’t quite fit the classic hero bill.
His Gawain is more realistic, equal parts hero and flawed human. Patel is a great actor, something he’s proven time and time again in recent years. He perfectly fits the bill of leading man, and the movie gives him more to do than just swing his sword.
The film itself has been described as a very unique take on the classic tale it’s loosely adapting. Lowery brings his signature style, giving the story a take that’s very thoughtful and characteristically strange in the best way. His approach of taking fantastical and epic material and using it to tell stories about the human experience in quieter ways makes him stand out among his peers, and The Green Knight is no exception.
The film is dark in tone, emphasizing drama over action. Critics have praised the way that the narrative & tone complement each other throughout the entirety of its runtime. Rather than deliver an action-packed Arthurian epic, The Green Knight is more of a rumination on the themes & morals at the center of stories like these, which are often about honor & power.
Though adapting Arthurian legends to the big screen is hardly a new practice, reviews are saying that this particular adaptation is unlike any of its predecessors. Those who come looking for a long-running epic full of action and high-stakes drama may be disappointed, but if they keep an open mind they’ll be rewarded with something maybe better.
The Green Knight is the story of a young man looking for excitement and purpose, and perhaps biting off more than he can chew. It’s about facing the consequences of your actions – and what it really means to be a knight.
The visuals have also been praised, with dark, atmospheric cinematography that helps set the mood. This adaptation has been described as many things (mostly positive), but most of all it is original.
The Green Knight comes out in the U.S. on July 30th. Are you going to see it? Let us know!