The Green Knight

Aug 1, 2021

Epic and lush with a memorable hero for all time.

The Green Knight

“Oh, greatest of Kings, let one of your Knights try to land a blow against me. Indulge me in this game.” The Green Knight (Ralph Ineson)

Over the years, The Green Knight may become the Citizen Kane of Arthurian romances on screen.

I am confident English majors like me will love this mighty tale. Based on a 14th century anonymous poem, Gawain and The Green Knight, it crystallizes our fascination with the Arthurian legend, the achievement of heroic status for young men, and the mystery of death. Those heavy-duty themes, however, don’t have to put off the non-English majors, who will enjoy at the very least the exceptional cinematography, romantic journey, and dynamic Dev Patel, an inspired choice even if it isn’t Adam Driver.

GATGK could serve as a fine example of “epic” if you consider the virtue of the hero, the trappings of court, the magical episodes, and the outlines of a culture in transition from The Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Anyhow, it’s simply a powerful story starting with the entrance of The Green Knight, a towering tree-like warrior with a voice to make Morgan Freeman envious.

Once Gawain lops of his head in a challenging game, epic takes over as Gawain takes the year till they must meet again by experiencing an accelerated, episodic life journey bringing him face to face with a talking fox, a seductive Lady (Alicia Vikander), who looks like his fav prostitute, deceptive scavengers, enigmatic naked giants, and the Green Knight himself. Homer’s Odysseus, much more experienced than Gawain, managed to get himself caught with similarly fantastic creatures and ladies but had far more fun than Gawain by virtue of his maturity and unimaginable ingenuity.

All of which shows GATGK to be a learning journey for Gawain, as if the poet wished to show the maturing of any man in his display of courage and honor. Writer/director David Lowery gives his talented actors and gorgeous set design full reign to create a first-rate legendary story and one of the best movies of the year.

The Green Knight

Director: David Lowery (A Ghost Story)

Screenplay: Lowery, from anonymous epic medieval poem,  Sir Gawain and the Green Knight)

Cast: Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire), Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina)

Run Time: 2h 19m

Rating: R

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at