The Green Knight: Film Review

Courtesy of A24

After almost getting The Green Knight in August and having it removed from the release schedule at the last minute, UK audiences are finally able to watch David Lowery‘s latest movie on Amazon Prime Video.

The epic fantasy adventure, inspired by Arthurian legend, stars Dev Patel as Sir Gawain, King Arthur’s reckless nephew, who goes on a quest to confront the feared Green Knight (Ralph Ineson), a formidable green-skinned foe, and his journey includes encounters with giants, thieves, lords, ladies, and a peculiar fox.

The storytelling is very strong at the beginning and end but wavers in the middle as it depicts Gawain’s perilous journey, even though this is mitigated by the stunning cinematography of the rugged landscapes, filmed in Ireland. There are so many gorgeous visuals, particularly one tracking shot of Gawain setting off on his horse, that I almost forgot how slow and meandering the middle portion is. Although Lowery takes his sweet time throughout the journey, but it’s never dull because of the characters Gawain encounters along the way, such as Barry Keoghan as a scheming scoundrel and Joel Edgerton and Alicia Vikander as a Lord and Lady who invite him to stay. However, I thought there were too many run-ins along the way and the journey could have been a bit shorter and pacier.

Hiring Patel for a role that is traditionally portrayed by a white man was an inspired piece of casting by Lowery. He was the perfect choice for Gawain – somebody who wants to do the honourable thing and came away a hero when deep down he’s vulnerable and struggling to find that courage. I also thought Ineson brought a tremendous fearsome energy to the Green Knight, despite being covered in prosthetics, and Keoghan had that cheeky mischievous attitude any swindling scavenger should have.

My biggest problem was with Vikander. I couldn’t figure out why she was given two roles, especially as the first one didn’t suit her at all. She is too poised and prim to be convincing as Essel, a peasant woman and Gaiwan’s lover, and her attempt at a Northern accent was pretty bad. I think she should have just been The Lady, she fits that seductive role much better.

This medieval fantasy is an intriguing adventure with a terrific star turn from Patel.

In selected cinemas and Amazon Prime Video from Friday 24th September

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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