(director/writer: David Lowery; cinematographer: Andrew Droz Palermo; editor: David Lowery; music: Daniel Hart; cast: Dev Patel (Gawain), Alicia Vikander (Essel), Sean Harris (King), Sarita Coudhurry (Morgan le Fay, Mother), Joel Edgerton (The Lord), Anais Rizzo (Helen), Barry Keoghan (Scavenger), Helene Browne (blind lady), Erin Kellyman (Winifred), Ralph Ineson (Green Knight), Kate Dickie (Queen); Runtime: 132; MPAA Rating: R; producers; Tim Headington, Toby Halbrooks, James M. Johnston, Theresa Steele Page: A24; 2021)

“Well-executed fantasy adventure film for adults set in Wales.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The Green Knight is based on the 14th century epic poem from the Arthurian legend called “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.” David Lowery (“The Old Man And The Gun”/”A Ghost Story”) is the visionary director and writer of this well-executed fantasy adventure film set in Wales (but filmed in Ireland).

The tale is about Sir Gawain (Dev Patel), King Arthur’s reckless and headstrong nephew Gawain, who is a dissolute youth without valor. He’s the son of the enchantress Morgan le Fay (Sarita Choudhury), who foolishly wastes his time cavorting with Essel (Alicia Vikander).
Gawain is called on Christmas Day to the court of his uncle, the regal and aging King Arthur (Sean Harris) and the beautiful Queen Guinevere (Kate Dickie), and sits next to Arthur at the feast. Arthur regrets not spending more time with the lad, while Guinevere expresses confidence that, someday, Gawain will be properly seated at the Round Table as the “boldest of blood and wildest of heart.”

In a startling manner, a gigantic emerald figure in armor rides into the court on horseback and proclaims himself as the Green Knight (Ralph Ineson). He challenges any nobleman to strike him with his mighty sword on the condition that – one year hence – he will return the blow. Gawain accepts the challenge when no one else will and beheads the Green Knight. Thereby the Green Knight retrieves his head and promises to see him again next Christmas.

In this challenge of manhood, Gawain during this period will be severely tested and must face ghosts, giants, thieves, and schemers. Gawain in this character-driven journey to prove his worth to himself, his family and kingdom, will through this test learn the true meaning of chivalry.

Daniel Hart’s lutes and harps keep the mood ‘medieval’ friendly. The 31-year-old Patel captures the spirit and spunk of the young Gawain. Though the film is filled with brutish images, it’s easy to digest–as it’s beautiful in its processing of the well-known Arthurian story and its imagery is bewitching.

REVIEWED ON 8/25/2021  GRADE:  B