“The Green Knight”
Metacritic (6/10), Rotten Tomatoes (***)
The Green Knight and Round Table champion Sir Gawain are the stuff of legends – literally – and in more permutations than one can probably readily identify. Which is something that undoubtedly contributes to some of the recurring confusion associated with director David Lowery’s latest take on these storied characters. In drawing from multiple source materials, the filmmaker appears to have come up with his own version of this legend, one that, in typical Lowery fashion, is not always the easiest to follow without making some assumptions and entering the theater with considerable foreknowledge of the subject matter. Even those somewhat familiar with the mythology may find themselves confused when they witness some events unfold that don’t appear to jibe with whatever knowledge they may already possess. Add to that a number of protracted sequences that should have been heavily edited (especially in the dreadfully dull opening 30 minutes), and viewers are left with quite a frustrating movie experience. To its credit, some sequences are skillfully handled (such as those involving Barry Keoghan in a superb supporting performance), and a number of thematic issues are deftly raised and discussed. Dev Patel’s portrayal of the intrepid hero is also commendable, a role that, at first glance, may seem to have been filled with an unusual casting choice. But, considering how much of this film seems to leave audiences (even informed ones) in the dark, one can’t help but wonder why the director makes his pictures so needlessly difficult to fathom. While it’s understandable that spoon-feeding is certainly unacceptable, the same can be said for being excessively cryptic, a quality that seems to characterize – and plague – this filmmaker’s work.