Film Review – The Green Knight (2021)

Title – The Green Knight (2021) 

Director – David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints

Cast – Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander, Joel Edgerton, Sean Harris 

Plot – In medieval times, Sir Gaiwan (Patel) sets off on a potentially deadly quest to meet with the mysterious Green Knight who has struck a game with the young man that could have life changing consequences. 

“Honor. That is why a knight does what he does”

Review by Eddie on 01/11/2021

I’m fairly positive you’ve never seen a re-telling of an Arthurian medieval tale quite like David Lowery’s The Green Knight, the writer/director’s take on the story of Sir Gawain and his game with the mysterious Green Knight. 

A reimagining that is likely to have purists of this classic tale squirming in their seats or captured by its unique sensibilities and visually arresting nature, Knight is another stunningly original film from David Lowery whose already given us a memorable take on Pete’s Dragon and life and death in Ghost Story (and will soon be taking to the big time with his Peter Pan film) and while the director can’t make everything here work, there’s little doubt that we are witnessing the first acts in a Hollywood career that could become legendary. 

Giving his star Dev Patel one of his best leading man roles alongside Slumdog Millionaire and Lion, Lowery follows Patel’s Gawain on a journey to prove his worth as he intends to uphold his end of a bargain to visit the Green Knight on Christmas day, a year after lopping off his head in a very public way, but nothing about Lowery’s adventure is what you’d call typical as Gawain meets money hungry looters, ghostly dames, giants, talking foxes and Joel Edgerton and Alicia Vikander’s mysterious couple on his way to meeting his destiny. 

Slowly paced and moodily scored by Daniel Hart, working alongside Andrew Droz Palermo’s smoky and atmospheric cinematography, Knight is always engaging on an aesthetic level and is rounded out by a brave and unforgettable final act but there’s large portions of middle section and ponderous/unexplained elements that are likely to turn some viewers right off and in some ways they are right too feel miffed by a film that never tries to make things easy or play things out in ways one may expect from such a premise. 

It’s a brave undertaking by Lowery, refining and remolding a tale such as Sir Gawain’s into a fever dream like affair that defies any logical pigeonholing, unrushed in any way as Gawain slowly plods along on his road to the Green Chapel and while its cold delivery and sometimes hard too decipher desires ensure that this film is held back from greatness and more likely public adornment, this is another feature film that continues to build the hype around Lowery’s filmmaking credentials. 

Final Say – 

Highly likely to be one of 2021’s most unique higher profile films, The Green Knight doesn’t always stick its landings but there’s some incredible moments found within David Lowery’s tale and another quality performance from Dev Patel. 

3 1/2 foxes out of 5  

12 responses to “Film Review – The Green Knight (2021)

  1. I liked it much more than I thought I would. I’m not even sure exactly why I enjoyed it a lot…in the 1.75 times I saw it. Very glad I waited to get it on DVD so I had subtitles (and making-of featurettes). I loved the talking fox.

    • I loved some parts of this film, it had some really magical moments but I’d be lying if I said I understood everything or why certain scenes existed.
      Either way I am very keen to see David’s take on Peter Pan.

  2. Good review. This movie is probably going to be one of the divided movies of 2021, with some loving it and others don’t getting it. I agree that the movie is a bit bizarre and plenty of WTF moments, but it was still something quite different, especially since the movie could’ve been handled as mainstream blockbuster from a major studio.

    • Great points mate. Some of the visuals and individual scenes were haunting and wonderful, I didn’t really find much personal connection to the story and wish it had a little more flow through the mid section which I felt dragged a little but still a very nice piece of reimagining.

  3. Your review was spot on. I don’t know why this one had to be so long. What I love about a lot of indie movies (including Lowry’s own A Ghost Story and The Old Man and The Gun) is that they tend to be short and sweet.

    • Yeh I think 20 – 30 minutes edited off this film may’ve actually helped in parts. It had some incredible moments and imagery but it didn’t resonate with me as much as I would’ve liked overall.

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  5. I watched it in theaters with my brother, and this has to be the most visually impressive movie of 2021, and the best movie based on Arthurian lore since John Boorman’s Excalibur. I really loved Dev Patel’s performance, and I also loved how the movie first deconstructed Arthurian lore and it’s tales of knights and chivalry before reconstructing it at the end. It’ll probably be divisive amongst most movie going audiences but this has earned a spot on my Best of 2021 list.

    BTW, if you want to see a movie with another great Dev Patel performance, I suggest you check out Armando Iannucci’s The Personal History of David Copperfield. It’s a funny, sweet, and all around feel good movie.

    • I am so excited with what Lowery is going to do with the Peter Pan universe!

      I was a fan of David Copperfield mate. Did you see Patel’s turn in the Australian film Lion? I think for me that’s his best work yet, even if it’s more a supporting turn than anything else.

      • I’d normally avoid the Peter Pan movie (since the live action Disney remakes come across as soulless cash grabs banking on nostalgia), but with Lowery attached, I’ll definitely give it a chance.

        I haven’t seen Lion, but I have heard great things about it. I’m just really glad Patel’s career survived The Last Airbender movie.

      • Mate what a valid point haha! He did well to come out of that one in tact.

        Not many would’ve been able to muster the strength to rise from the ashes of that.

  6. Pingback: 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2022 | Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys)·

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