The Green Knight

The Green Knight ★★★★½

Thoroughly stunning and hypnotic. Absolute catnip for hipster cinephiles like myself. The vast disparity on Rotten Tomatoes between the critical rating (88%) and the audience rating (49%) isn't surprising in the least - in fact, I actually thought this disparity would be much, MUCH larger. "The Green Knight" is far more languid and somber than I was expecting, so much so that I couldn't help but marvel at the severe non-mass-audience-friendly nature of the final product. David Lowry's script defies tropes and goes out of its way to subvert expectations, leaving you with a damn near psychedelic Arthurian journey of one man's search for meaning and honor. If it wasn't clear already, it is now - A24 has a devout legion of fans because they respect their artists, and in turn, these artists respect their audiences.

A prime example of Lowry's respect for viewers can be found in the first 20 minutes when the titular Green Knight barges into King Arthur's castle and interrupts the Christmas festivities. There's a brief moment when King Arthur looks over to a mysterious wizard-looking fella with a long beard and cryptic tattoos over his face and hands. This man then turns the room red and scans the Green Knight to determine if he's a threat. This man then shakes his head no, signifying either that the Green Knight is not a threat, OR, that he can't get a read on him AT ALL. A lesser movie wouldn't have left these events up to interpretation, making King Arthur say something silly along the lines of, "Merlin, use our telepathy to reach into this intruder's mind!" The thing is, this wizard COULD be Merlin, but perhaps he isn't? Perhaps the wizard wasn't trying to read the Green Knight's mind, but instead was trying to cast a spell against the Green Knight but was unsuccessful? By not overtly explaining things to the audience, Lowry makes this moment 100x more interesting.

The movie is essentially 2 straight hours of moments like these - beautifully filmed sequences that are left up to your interpretation. I totally understand if that doesn't sound appealing to you, but to me, it absolutely worked. I was TRANSFIXED from beginning to end. I doubt this movie has a shot for Best Picture or Best Director, but if it Andrew Droz Palermo doesn't pick up a nod for his remarkable cinematography, film Twitter will RIOT.

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