The Green Knight

The Green Knight ★★★★★

Many films have been attempted over the years to capture the soul of Arthurian Legends but none have been perfect in my eye until "The Green Knight." Writer/Director David Lowery's meditative approach to his films makes this story feel lyrical and deliberately paced compared to the action packed stories of today. He adapts the famous poem "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" respecting it's many themes while simultaneously subverting every expectation. Lowery attacks everything we know about the Knights of the Round Table. Our protagonist Gawain is a young, whoring, drunk who couldn't hold a candle to a true hero. How could he ever grow to be a legend? Well that's where the Green Knight comes in.
Our story opens with the "game" that the Green Knight entices Gawain to play. Try to land a blow to him and in one year Gawain must go to his chapel to receive the blow he delivered to the Green Knight. In a move that could only be described as arrogance our hero beheads the Knight mean in one year the same must happen to him. This leads Gawain on a journey of self discovery where he meets many temptations and must come to terms with what it actually means to be courageous. The script feels cleverly constructed to jump from each narrative with seamless ease. Where many things occur during this quest they all feel meticulously woven together. When a new chapter of the journey began I didn't feel like anything was out of place because each diversion was building to a grand finale.
The film features the best cinematography of the year thanks to the great eye of Andrew Droz Palermo. He captures tremendous shots of the harsh nature that Gawain must traverse on his quest. Not to mention the amazing use of color that put a smile on my face and had me say 'ooo' several times. The imagery is enough to put a spell on anyone.
As the movie washed over me in the theater I couldn't think of any way it could get better. Then the final 20 minutes happened and I felt like I was hit by a freight train. Without giving anything away this is the best sequence of the movie. It was a perfect blend of the established themes with visual storytelling. Dev Patel barely speaks in this stretch but manages to give his best performance through his actions. Lowery has a certain gift for this style of filmmaking and this is his best use of that gift. For that alone this went from a great film in my eye to a perfect one. I cannot recommend it enough.

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