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The Green Knight | movie review


Movie summary: A fantasy retelling of the medieval story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. (IMDb)

There was a lot of praise for The Green Knight when it was released and plenty of the images I saw made me intrigued about the movie too. In fact, it was so well-loved by apparently the movie industry itself, critics and film 'snobs' that there was a lot of confusion and anger about it being effectively excluded from the Oscars - a real slap in the face, you could say.

On the other hand, I can see why it didn't get nominated for anything, because there's no single piece of the movie that I think is awards-worthy. The aspect that had me most intrigued - the visuals - were actually a few genuinely gorgeous sequences interspersed with far longer stretches of relatively 'normal' cinematography - certainly nothing that kept me impressed throughout.

Also, The Green Knight is a bloody weird movie that doesn't quite work a single, continuous story. I'll admit to being ignorant of the tale of Gawain and the Green Knight, but I'd imagine that it's like a lot of stories that had bits and pieces added or removed over time, probably mixed in with other stories too. I say that because the story does take some very strange turns at times.

Now, while I enjoyed these lengthy divergences from Gawain's story - presumably thanks to playing enough video games to be used to side quests interrupting the main plot - I can see why it would be very off-putting to others, presumably including awards voters. Each little sequence feels more like a separate thing bolted on rather than a smaller piece of a greater whole and the tonal consistency suffers as a result.

Dev Patel does his best as Gawain, but the wildly differing events he goes through during the course of the movie meant that I never really got a feel for who he was on a base level. We spend the most time with him in his regular life early on, but once he has to leave to meet the Green Knight for a second encounter, it's almost as if all character development is then put on hold until the last 20% of the movie where it races to catch up.

I have to be honest and say that I'm not sure if I would actually recommend watching The Green Knight. There are some very good-looking sequences, and the costume designs are certainly excellent making for a very pretty film, but you'll probably need to already be pre-disposed to creepy/twisted fairy tales and folklore to enjoy most of what you'll see here, otherwise you might well wonder what all the fuss is about.

The Green Knight is a movie I very much enjoyed, but it's still a pretty odd experience and certainly won't be everyone's cup of tea. The problem is that the bizarre nature of some scenes make the story come across as tonally inconsistent and means you can't really get to know the characters that well because we don't get to spend long enough with them in a 'normal' situation to gauge who they really are.

[7/10 - Good]



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