Kevin J. Harty reviews: The Green Knight (dir. D. Lowery, 2021)

Updated: Aug 20, 2021


An initial voice-over promises us a tale, and students of Chaucer know that good medieval tales contain both sentence and solaas, so does David Lowery’s mesmerizing, multi-layered adaptation of what is arguably the finest romance from medieval England, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

In Lowery’s film, simply called The Green Knight, we meet a young Gawain (Dev Patel) on Christmas morn fresh from the brothel and on his way to mass at the castle—presumably Camelot. The film never tells us that the King (Sean Harris) is Arthur, that his sister (Sarita Choudhury) is Morgan Le Fay, or that his Queen (Kate Dickie) is Guinevere—but it is easy enough to infer so, and it ultimately makes no difference one way or another if we are indeed in Camelot. The film is a coming-of-age story of Gawain, a child of privilege—he is nephew to this king and son to this king’s sister—who has yet to perform any deeds of derring-do. At best, he seems to manage trips to the brothel, where he loses his boots (and more), and to the tavern, where he brawls rather than battles. He is not yet a knight, nor does he seem to be anyone’s squire.At the film’s beginning, we would then seem to have Gawain the Slacker. ..... READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE

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