This post contains spoilers for The Green Knight. Beware!
About the film – The Green Knight
The picture tells how the mysterious Green Knight comes to Camelot during the New Year, and offers a challenge to one of the Knight of King Arthur. In his challenge, anyone can hit him with an axe, but after a year the knight will return to strike back. Young Sir Gawain accepts the challenge and chops off the guest’s head, but he puts it in its place and leaves. Then the main character sets out on his journey to meet the enemy at the appointed time.
The Green Knight Movie Review
Even before its release, The Green Knight was captured by expectations: premieres are postponed, local souvenirs from the fields of horror are getting less attention, and therefore fans of Ari Astaire and Robert Eggers put all their hopes on the new film by David Lowry and unleashed a flurry of love on him in absentia.
Titles became the guarantor of the Order of Honor: the director’s name, an unusual role for the talented artist Dev Patel, and the plate of the A24 studio, which has released almost two-thirds of successful independent films over the past ten years. All this, coupled with the enthusiastic reviews of the foreign press (with this text we fully subscribe to them), have become integral parts of the film’s myth.
That can partly serve as the evil fate of an overestimated level of requirements, but on the other hand, it seems to be part of Lowry’s plan: “Legends Never Die” – the slogan of the film says, and the picture has already acquired its own. It is the search for his own story that becomes the trigger for the plot: at Christmas dinner, Sir Gawain (Dev Patel) sits down next to King Arthur to hear the unpleasant truth – while a young man can only talk about victories in a brothel, he will not become a knight.
The opportunity to prove masculinity will appear as if by magic: right in the middle of the celebration, the Green Knight will burst into the hall and challenge anyone who dares to draw his sword to a duel. The rules are simple – blow for blow. The owner is the first to hit, and a year later in the Green Chapel on Christmas day he will receive an answer from a magic wanderer with a tree face. With youthful absurdity, Gawain cuts his head off his shoulders – the knight does not bother at all with this attack, he saddles his horse and goes home, recalling this promise.
What will happen next, it seems, is not a terrible secret: the legend from the cycle about King Arthur can be read, told to a neighbor in an armchair in the auditorium even in the opening credits, or you can watch previous film adaptations: for example, Stephen Wicks’s 1984 film, where Sir Sean Connery played the Green Knight.
True, as the content of the legend is obvious, it is just as rash to expect David Lowry to blindly follow the letter of the scripture – he stumbled upon the legend in college, and since then Gawain has not let go of the author’s thoughts. The marriage of form and content happened out of great love: the Arthurian saga seems to fall by itself on the restrained passages of the Sloberner – the hand of director David Lowry never wavered.
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Sir Gawain, with the blessing of the witch mother (the fairy Morgana played by Sarita Choudhry), goes on a journey a year later: the painful slumber of the road to meet death becomes tangible – the earth, sand, grass and even the air around it have their own taste, smell and color (of course, green – all 555 shades on the screen, from emerald to terry mold). Among the rampage of this British chthonic with a talking fox (a deliberate nod to Lars von Trier’s ” Antichrist ” ), giants, witches, and other motley bestiaries, Sir Gawaine faces a dilemma, magical and non-magical at the same time: to disassemble masculinity into atoms, and where is cowardice.
Gawaine calls himself a knight with bold fervor (though only when it suits him), but the young man’s actions suggest otherwise. In addition to chain mail and strength, the readiness to sacrifice life for the king and lady of the heart, the warriors glorified in courtly novels are also distinguished by a set of virtues, be it religious faith, politeness, or loyalty to a given word (in the common people, ancient wisdom sounds like “you have to answer for the market”).
Strength tests and Gawaine has to go through: over and over again he crashes. In the campaign, he is guided at the same time by a dull sense of duty and heated arrogance – you can return from a journey as a hero worthy of the throne of Camelot (Arthur is no longer young, and there are no heirs). Puppet shows are already being made about his feat in the squares, and the beloved maiden is waiting at home.
However, in the barn, and not on the royal bed – one more test, now of the sincerity of feelings on the social abyss. Meeting with a forest thief, far from Robin Hood in his thoughts (skillfully played episodic role Barry Keogan), the Lord’s orphanage (the powerful Joel Edgerton ), and the carnal passion for his wife (like her beloved at home, played by Alicia Vikander ) again and again reveal Gawain as a cowardly, petty and, in general, far from those the most chivalrous ideals, sung in ancient times (Patel in this role is better than ever).
The pursuit of title and honor closer to the finale turns into a once-in-a-lifetime decision. His story is already on the lips – only a choice separates from the return of the winner: to surrender and compose or go to the end and become famous for the truth.
Perhaps in the sensitive field of today, where gender conventions are endlessly revised, dissected, and interpreted in other registers, Laurie’s morality will sound too traditional and even old-fashioned, as it should be for novels about knights: nobility has not lost its value. But at the same time, the director is rather concerned with the difference between word and deed, the desire to position oneself in the media space (for example, the medieval media space), and the ability to match the declared title.
The Green Knight is embedded in several films that are about young people striving to defend the authorship of their story, be it Bushranger Ned Kelly from The True Story of the Kelly Gang by Justin Kurzel or even Joe March from the film adaptation of Little Women.» Greta Gerwig . Becoming the author and master of your word is the only way to live and even immortality: “legends do not die,” as we remember.
This optics, tuned to the gaze and the word of the hero, suggests that Sir Gawain is a storyteller, in general, unreliable: probably there were no foxes, no giants, no battles, and in the young man’s imagination all the beloved women look the same – Alicia Vikander. But what is even more entertaining and gives a loophole for interpretations of the ending is magic (if you are afraid of spoilers, beware of our further reasoning).
King Arthur ( Sean Harris) repeats to Gawaine that the competition is just a game, don’t be too serious. And, probably, the path, permeated with the drama of accepting one’s fate, is nothing more than a test set up by the witch-mother (Morgana’s role in the narrative is the most mysterious and ambiguous). One way or another, the circle of growing up was closed in the finale: Sir Gawain shook off the mold from armor and thoughts, ceased to be afraid of the future, and yet (despite or thanks to) turned into a legend on the lips of others. This seems to be exactly what David Lowry wanted.