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7/6/2021 • 4 min read
Who doesn’t love knights? They have swords, they have chivalry (or they’re supposed to, anyway), and they do battle with evil people or, depending on the story, monsters. Yeah, superheroes are great, but let’s hear it for the originators.
And what better way is there to celebrate all these ideas this summer than watching THE GREEN KNIGHT? This movie takes King Arthur's knights of the round table in a direction that is very different from most movies, by focusing on an esoteric tale from that era. We all know the story of how King Arthur got his sword and what a tough guy Sir Lancelot was. Now let’s learn about the adventures of Sir Gawain!
THE GREEN KNIGHT will hit theaters on July 30.
You bet there is! Like many 2021 summer releases, THE GREEN KNIGHT has taken a long road getting to theaters. The film was gearing up for a 2020 release before quarantine began. This means there are quite a few trailers out there already if you want to explore the film more. The latest GREEN KNIGHT trailer, embedded just above, gives you an excellent idea of the general style and tone of this Arthurian fantasy story — and shows just how cool-looking the actual Green Knight is.
If you’re super into spoilers, you can read the 14th-century source material SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT to get the scoop on the entire plot. Or you could just read a summary, of course.
But for those who would like to stay spoiler-free, here is a gentle synopsis. Sir Gawain is a knight of King Arthur's round table at Camelot. One day the Green Knight shows up and proposes a challenge that goes something like this: “I’ll let you hit me with your sword, but you have to let me hit you back in one year and a day.” Gawain accepts this challenge and cuts the Green Knight’s head off. Unfortunately, the interloper puts his head right back on and says “I’ll see you in a year and a day.” Whoops!
So now Gawain has a year and one day to get his stuff together and live a chivalrous life while preparing for his almost certain death. Will he be able to do it? And does the Green Knight actually intend to kill him? We’ll have to watch the movie to find out!
This is a small, contained film and as such it does not have a huge cast — but that gives more weight to every casting choice, and the GREEN KNIGHT cast is impressive. Sir Gawain is played by Dev Patel, of SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE and THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD. Sean Hunt, who played such a great villain in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - FALLOUT, plays King Arthur. In addition, Alicia Vikander (TOMB RAIDER) appears, as will Joel Edgerton of THE GIFT.
THE GREEN KNIGHT is directed by David Lowery, one of the best directors of small genre films currently working. In terms of subject matter, Lowery’s filmography is all over the map. He made a movie for kids (PETE’S DRAGON), a crime drama (AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS), an existential supernatural film (A GHOST STORY), and an old-school charmer (THE OLD MAN & THE GUN). Even as THE GREEN KNIGHT strides towards theaters, Lowery is working on a new version of the Peter Pan story for Disney.
All these movies have one thing in common in addition to Lowery as a director: an exceptional quality. Lowery can deliver a total crowd-pleaser or a deeply thoughtful and meditative movie — and no matter what he makes, it will be compellingly watchable and unique. Seeing him taking on a core Arthurian legend is exciting, and we can't wait to see what twists he has in store!
All images courtesy of A24.
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