The Green Knight

The Green Knight ★★★★½

Wow. This was a lot better than I expected. But while The Green Knight’s stunning cinematography was occasionally reminiscent of films like The Virgin Spring and There Will Be Blood, the actors were uniformly excellent, and the score heightened suspenseful scenes laced with dark magic and shady characters, the thing that stood out the most was the story’s similarity to a literary classic. And I’m not referring to the 14th century poem “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.”

Writer/director David Lowery might have thought he was adapting a centuries old tale, but I know that he had The Giving Tree in the deep, dark recesses of his mind. He clearly masked the screenplay enough to avoid Sheling out cash (omggetitsorry) for the rights, but hear me out. Moving forward, there (!will be!) Giving Tree spoilers, but no Green Knight spoilers beyond the first 10-ish minutes.

In the beginning of The Green Knight, Gawain (Patel) is convinced by his uncle, King Arthur, (Sean Harris) that he is destined for greatness. He bravely volunteers to battle a giant tree man with a literal axe to grind. This mysterious Green Knight offers his head up for choppin’, with the understanding that Gawain will return the favor next Christmas. (Oh yeah. This is a Christmas film. Adorbs.)

Gawain chops the knight’s head off, but, like a boss, the Green Knight picks it up and walks out. Essentially one scene in, and the Green Knight has separated his head from his neck to begin Gawain’s quest towards what he hopes will be manhood, honor, and the crown. Hell of a guy, that Green Knight!

I won’t go any further with plot details, but suffice it to say that in general, Gawain seems to be more of a taker than a giver. From the very first scene with his main squeeze/partner/roll in the hay-er, he seems to take a lot for granted. Sure, he’s got a lot of quest-ing and self-actualizing to do, but a crucial question looms over this tale: if he meets the Green Knight again a year henceforth, will he be the kind of hero who takes apples from trees and uses trees as nothing more than stump stools, or will he be the kind of hero who keeps his head by losing it?

2021 Ranked

A24 Ranked

DallasFrance liked these reviews