Movie Review, The Green Knight


Story by Alex Paulino, Staff Writer

The beginning is one of the most vital parts of the movie-watching experience. Many films typically start with a very simple opener that sets the tone for the film. The Green Knight, however, begins with flames. The main character, Gawain, is set on fire. Gawain sits on his throne, as a crown floats above him as he is set ablaze. He doesn’t react, he doesn’t flinch, he just accepts. This confusing nature is what defines The Green Knight for the entirety of its two hour runtime.

“That is why a knight does what he does.” -Sir Gawain

It’s hard to describe The Green Knight. On the one hand, it’s a spiraling epic with great uses of cinematography and editing.  On the other hand, it’s a confusing plot structure with little patience that leaves the audience in a dizzy state as the credits roll by. In a sense, The Green Knight shares the same level of oddity with its director, David Lowery. Lowery has been known to direct mostly fantasy films. In 2016, he directed Disney’s Pete Dragon. Then in 2018, he directed a polar opposite in the form of A Ghost Story which was a supernatural horror film. The Green Knight feels like a culmination of both of these ideas. With the fantasy-nature of Pete’s Dragon, and the horrific sequences of A Ghost Story.

The Green Knight is an adaptation of the famous 14th-century poem of the same name. It follows Sir Gawain’s (played by Dev Patel) journey of acceptance and sorrow, as he attempts to find The Green Chapel. Following an altercation with King Arthur, a mysterious warrior, The Green Knight presents Gawain with a troubling game. If someone were to strike The Green Knight, they’d be forced to find him in The Green Chapel a year later in which he’d deal the same blow as they did. Sir Gawain, nephew of King Arthur, chooses to behead The Green Knight. Now with the game in place, Gawain is traumatized by the thought that the end of his life is approaching, as he is forced to find The Green Knight in his chapel to finish the game. 

The Green Knight chooses to withhold any punches with its striking imagery and plot progression. Gawain witnesses multiple oddities on his way to the chapel, including befriending a small fox and encountering gigantic humanoids at the edge of a cliff. It goes without saying that this is a bizarre concept. 

“I thought it was really good, and Gawain’s journey was extremely interesting to watch,” said junior Pedro Zamora. 

It’s hard to imagine an audience would ever get bored watching The Green Knight, especially with the insaneness of everything going on. The film has such a surreal way to get the audience engaged to the point where it’s hard to take your eyes off the screen. The fights, the flames, the spectacle, the romance, and the climax  are all  multiple moments where all that can be said is “Wow.”

The Green Knight does especially well in its technical aspects. There are numerous shots and angles that preset or set up a scene extremely well,  choices that have subliminal or double meanings, and the production design found throughout the film is superb. The Green Knight, without a doubt, is Unfortunately, The Green Knight does not entirely have highlights. Despite being based on the poem, the film chooses to omit several plot elements from the original poem. This is not inherently a bad thing, however there are several instances in the film where an omission would not change the experience of the film too much. There are certainly moments where the film feels a bit sluggish. The film is over 2 hours long, and it feels like it can be shorter. Additionally, some characters (like Gawain’s mother, or the Lord) can be removed entirely and the plot would still remain unaffected. It feels like some characters have too little of a personality to really make an impact on the plot, and some are simply forgettable.

“Now, off with your head.” -The Green Knight

In conclusion, The Green Knight is certainly a memorable watch. It has several elements that feel exciting and developed, even if a few moments feel like it could have been more substantial. The Green Knight, regardless, still feels like a complete experience.


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