Matt64’s review published on Letterboxd:
The Green Knight has got to be one of the not only one of my favorite theater experiences of the year, but it is also up there as one of my favorite films of the entire year so far.
For starters, this is a film that makes for not only a mesmerizing experience that captures the essence of the original poem while still being its own entity, but also a superbly-told story that tackles themes such as our search for honor & maturity, gaining the courage to confront our biggest fears, and why these particular components are equally important to us as people. Through its brilliant method of storytelling because of how strong the writing and pacing/editing is, the film serves as a engaging cautionary tale that has the ability to inspire those who are willing to change who they are for the better. To add to this, the film’s writing and directing by David Lowery (as well as the previously mentioned pacing/editing) manages to make the story (along with its world) feel as fleshed out as it could possibly be by exploring the aforementioned themes in a way that feels concrete, sincere, complex, thought-provoking and from the heart while also serving a lot that can be viewed through multiple interpretations due to its intelligent storytelling and use of symbolism, thus resulting in an appropriate amount of rewatch value.
The performances are another aspect of the film that i thought worked very well. Every single cast member feels as if they are truly embodying the characters they are playing without a single ounce of falsehood or hesitation. The one standout from the entire cast, however, is none other than Dev Patel as Sir Gawain. He encapsulates every single piece of characterization given to our main hero in a sense where you get the feeling you are not watching an actor on-screen. It makes for a captivating character who is depicted as one who lacks what is needed to complete his quest, but manages to slowly but surely develop into an entirely new being by the end of the story.
This film also features some of the best technical work of the year. One of my favorite aspects of the film would easily have to be the cinematography. Cinematographer Andrew Droz Palermo manages to inject every shot of this film with a sense of visual gracefulness and stunning camerawork that made for multiple instances of superb visual storytelling, an abundant sense of ravishing atmosphere, and added to the film’s character-building. The sets and costumes are not only elaborate and alluring, but also complimented the film’s striking world-building in a pitch perfect manner. Two of my other favorite aspects of the film would easily have to be the musical score and sound design. These components made for a story that has a well-established tone, mood, and style while also proficiently providing an even more immersive experience for the viewer to the point where they feel like they are partaking in the same journey as the main character.
To wrap it all up, The Green Knight is an enthralling, bold, cultivated, and impressive piece of filmmaking that never takes the route of a traditional fantasy film and instead delivers a strong visual experience that is equally as robust in the story department. All that i mentioned about the film culminate together to deliver one of the best films (and endings i should say) of the entire year.