The Green Knight: A cryptic story of failure and bravery

Lucas Enrique Gomez

Director David Lowery’s latest feature film, The Green Knight, is an artistic fantasy with breathtaking imagery and little dialogue. Based on the late 14th century chivalric romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the film follows Gawain as he embarks on an adventure of honor. The story being told in the form of chapters keeps it true to its roots as a classic medieval novel.

There are many long shots of still beauty and minute movements. These “pillow shots” are commonly used in Japanese animated films to show a visual element with no narrative purpose but can be found in the works of Alejandro González Iñárritu and other American directors. 130 minutes long, this movie may be a slog for some but was an incredible experience for me. The film sets the perfect balance between exciting moments and peaceful ones. 

The soundtrack is masterful and can control feelings of dread, optimism or tranquility in an instant. Daniel Hart did a great job as a composer and the entirety of the sound design was superb. The crack of a stick or a chirp in the forest was immersive while viewing and made me not want to look away. Dev Patel delivered one of the greatest performances of his career as Gawain and was in nearly every scene of the movie. 

This is not a film everyone will enjoy. It’s slow, quiet, and downright confusing at times. But for those that enjoy the methodical storytelling and long shots, this is a great film that is worth watching and rewatching. I would rate this movie a solid 4.5/5 big green axes.