The Green Knight - B-
Rated R, 125 minutes
The entertaining, unconventional "The Green Knight" is not a superhero film, but it's still filled with capes, swords and plenty of swashbuckling. Written. directed and edited by acclaimed director (and native Texan) David Lowery, who directed the remake of "Pete's Dragon" (2016), it's a wholly original take on the Arthurian legend "Sir Gwain and the Green Knight." Lowery's sublime, detailed visual touches help the film rise above its uneven story.
Sir Gawain (Oscar-nominee Dev Patel, great here) is King Arthur's (Sean Harris) reckless and headstrong nephew, who embarks on a daring quest to confront the eponymous Green Knight (character actor Ralph Ineson), a gigantic emerald-skinned tree-like creature. Gawain contends with ghosts, giants, thieves, and schemers in what becomes a deeper journey to define his character and prove his worth in the eyes of his family and kingdom by facing the ultimate challenger.
Lowery's dark, enjoyable fantasy "The Green Knight" is a visual feast, though the story has some coherency issues, with a narrative that tends to go in many directions, including a couple of action sequences that are borderline acid-trippy. The stellar production values and first-rate special effects are the chief reason to see the film, led by the handsome photography from David Aroz Palermo, which captures the time period perfectly. Also adding to the film's strong aesthetic value is the haunting, stringy score from Daniel Hart, who's scored other Lowery films, including the aforementioned "Pete's Dragon" as well as "A Ghost Story," not to mention its detailed costumes and sets.
It also benefits from a strong cast, led by the charming Patel, in yet another period costume role that's quickly becoming his trademark. Ineson is a strong Green Knight, which resembles an adult, green version of Groot from "Guardians of the Galaxy." Sean Harris is a memorable King Arthur, while Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander has a few memorable scenes in dual roles, though Joel Edgerton isn't given much to do in a small, underwritten part.
Lowery's script could've used some tightening, and too often it feels it's rushing way ahead of its audience, which may leave its audience wondering what's exactly going on. And as good as Patel is in the lead, it too often feels he's passive observer instead of courageous leader. Still, there's a lot to enjoy about "The Green Knight" and it continues to show that Lowery is a gifted filmmaker with some original visual flair. While it could be a tough sell given the source material, it's still worth a look, especially for fans of King Arthur.