“Said Gawain, gay of cheer, ‘Whether fate be foul or fair, Why falter I or fear? What should man do but dare?'”
As the film reaches out to shake the audience’s hand for the first time, it reveals Sir Gawain sitting on the throne. And while he sits there, we witness a crown placed upon his head. Sir Gawain is no Knight; He is King. Accompanying this possible vision of the future is the haunting voice of a woman introducing the story of The Green Knight. If the audience was expecting a classic tale of Arthur and his Knights, they would sadly be mistaken. As her words finish and the crown of the former King is placed upon Sir Gawain’s head, there is a pause. And before the film truly starts, a flame engulfs King Gawain’s head. Hopefully, you were paying attention. The film has already begun teaching you its language.
For years, people have recommended the work of Director/Writer David Lowery. “A Ghost Story” being his most prominent work that I would knowingly enjoy, but for some reason, I never forced myself to sit down and experience the film. However, after having seen Lowery’s newest film, “The Green Knight,” I can say without a doubt that I will be visiting every movie this man has made… even “Pete’s Dragon.”
While it can be easy for a film to have themes revolving around colors, it can be even easier for that style of storytelling to fall into cliche. However, Lowery manages to tell a beautiful story that, in my opinion, is rich with interpretation while weaving in the themes that he wished to include. The phrase, “every frame is a painting,” couldn’t be more accurate with “The Green Knight,” but the film isn’t just there to look pretty. Every single shot has a meaning. For a movie that has a 2-hour run-time, there’s not a single second that’s wasted.
For those like myself who are unfamiliar with the story of The Green Knight, I would suggest bringing that to that theater. You’re there for the movie to tell you its story. If it inspires you to go out and read the original poem, that’s fantastic. Let that be when you try and compare the differences between the two. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no point in attempting to muddy any possible enjoyment of what is quite possibly the best film of the year.
While I’ve showered David Lowery with praise, I would be remiss if I forgot to mention the cast. As I’ve said, I strongly suggest going into this movie as blind as possible, so I’ll only mention two of the actors that appear, but know that everyone on screen does so flawlessly. Dev Patel (Chappie) and Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina) command the screen in a way that only a few actors can. And even more impressive is that for as great as Dev Patel is, because of what Alicia Vikander is asked to do, I think she steals the movie. I can only assume the Oscars are coming back next year, but even if they don’t, I have a strong feeling that an MTV Movie Award is in both of these actor’s futures.
As for the titular Green Knight… From start to finish, this character left me with endless thoughts running through my head. And while I could describe all of those feelings that this character cast upon me, I think audiences should meet this stranger from the woods for themselves and form their own opinions.
David Lowery’s The Green Knight is a true masterpiece in storytelling. While I’m sad there isn’t an easier way for people to currently see the film if you can safely see it at a movie theater, I promise you will not regret it.