Available on Prime Video, The Green Knight is an ambitious tale directed by David Lowery starring Dev Patel. Inspired by an Arthurian legend, he skilfully dismantles the classic medieval tale.
What is it about ?
Through this fantastic and epic adventure based on the timeless Arthurian legend, The Green Knight tells the story of Sir Gawain, King Arthur’s reckless and stubborn nephew, who sets out on a daring quest to face the eponymous Green Knight, a gigantic stranger to the emerald skin that tests the courage of men. Gawain must face ghosts, giants, thieves and plotters who will make his journey a quest for identity allowing him to prove his worth in the eyes of his family and his kingdom by facing his greatest adversary.
The Green Knight, a movie written and directed by David Lowery with Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander, Sean Harris…
Who is it with?
Dev Patel plays Gawain, Gauvain in French, King Arthur’s nephew. He leads his life as a dilettante until he meets the Green Knight who will force him to take his responsibilities, but above all to find himself.
Opposite him, Alicia Vikander composes two characters: Essel, a young woman from the people with whom Gauvain maintains a relationship and the Lady, a learned woman with whom he finds refuge and whose meeting will disturb him.
During his journey, which is similar to an initiatory journey, Gauvain will meet all kinds of characters. Her mother is played by Sarita Choudhury known for her role in Homeland. It is Sean Harris (Mission Impossible) who lends his features to King Arthur.
We also meet Joel Edgerton in the role of the Lady’s husband. More surprising, the participation of Patrick Duffy (Dallas, Our beautiful family) who lends his voice to the fox who accompanies Gauvain on part of his way.
Well worth a look ?
With The Green Knight, director David Lowery (The Old Man & The Gun and A Ghost Story) revisits in his very personal way the chivalrous novel “Sire Gauvain and the Green Knight” dating from the end of the 14th century.th century which is inscribed in the Arthurian legend.
As he presents it to us, Gauvain is not a hero. He is lazy, leads a life of fun, lives with his mother, despises the church, and seems to have no idea who he is or what he wants in life. In a contemporary film, he is the perfect embodiment of the loser but who will have to reveal himself as a hero.
Even a superhero. Because the cinematography – also superb of the film – summons this imagery of a mythification specific to the world of superheroes. Lowery remade the original material “Sire Gwain and the Green Knight” into a comic-book origin story in which an ordinary man achieves greatness by overcoming a litmus test or defeating an enemy. All with the “author” label.
In this case, that enemy is the Green Knight (Ralph Ineson), a menacing creature who appears on Christmas Day at the court of King Arthur (Sean Harris), to challenge one of his men to a bizarre game. Any knight able to strike him will earn his green ax but must go to the Green Chapel the following Christmas and receive an equivalent blow in return.
Gauvain, in a rare moment of courage that he will quickly regret, volunteers to take up the challenge, quickly beheading the monster using his uncle’s sword, Excalibur. But the green knight simply gets up, and leaves with his head in his hands with a thunderous laugh, giving Gwain an appointment in a year.
Shortly before the deadline, Gauvain is still just as insecure of himself but having become famous in spite of himself after this episode, he decides to go in search of the chapel where the Green Knight lives. He then begins a journey strewn with obstacles across the country. His journey turns into a hallucinogenic journey where he meets giants, a talking fox and a ghost who asks him to look for his head at the bottom of a lake.
This universe, as fascinating as it is disturbing, is beautifully illustrated. Their poetic and frightening character constitutes their main attraction. Until a certain point. Lowery’s manic styling and personal pleasure take precedence over the pleasure of the viewer. Of the 2h10 that the film lasts, he could have cut a good third of it.
There are nevertheless hypnotic images and a strong proposition bordering on bravery. The performance of Dev Patel is also to be highlighted. He skillfully deconstructs the myth of the knight by making him a coward who slips away at the slightest opportunity. It is by dint of humanity and retreats …