Although David Lowery had already attracted the attention of many viewers with his wonderful version of ‘Peter and the dragon‘for Disney, his consecration would come with’A Ghost Story‘, an absolute masterpiece that set the bar very high. ‘The Old Man & the Gun‘was the first to succeed her ghost story, and now it’s the turn of the ambitious’The green knight‘, a wonderful trip to the Arthurian legend.
The green giant
The little that we were clear about before the arrival of Lowery’s new film is that it would not be for all audiences. The pace and style of the Texas-based filmmaker are not usually known for being dizzying, so it was logical to think that his adaptation of the anonymous story It wouldn’t be like what good old Guy Ritchie did a few years ago with ‘King Arthur: The Legend of Excalibur‘. ‘The Green Knight’ bears more resemblance to the john boorman movie about the legend, but first and foremost it’s a David Lowery movie. It is an auteur film.
This visual waste on the part of a director who recreates himself with the power of the image It is an exemplary adaptation: the whole story is on the screen, but what was not in the story is also seen. It is almost palpable.
How could it be otherwise, the spectacular photography of Andrew Droz Palermo and the ubiquitous and sensational music of Daniel Hart They make this not just another Arthurian reimagining of the Sir Gawain legend.
With a creepy voice-over and a burning throne, he starts a journey that recreates in aesthetic modernity from Lowery, who does not hesitate to use the funniest sense of humor when you least expect it. After that elegant and promising start we already have the two protagonists (fantastic Dev Patel, doubled Alicia Vikander) presenting their common story.
Patel, who does nothing shone in Iannucci’s remarkable latest film, ‘The incredible story of David Copperfield‘, takes care of a Gawain who, while he may be a gentleman, has yet to perform any deed worthy of King Arthur’s Round Table, epicenter of the first arc of the film. Right there the knight of the title will break in to turn the life of the protagonist upside down.
As I said a few lines above, ‘The Green Knight’ is a particularly demanding, mysterious, highly detailed work, a journey between the hero’s journey and the coming of age through a fantasy world (although deeply rooted in the earthly) formed by the obsessions that characterize the legacy of its director. Between fantasy and intimate drama, as is usual in chez Lowery.
The filmmaker plays with expectations of its protagonist, but also with those of the viewer. The journey will not be easy for the young aspiring knight of the round table as he tries to shape his personality and legend as he traverses wastelands ravaged by death and looters. Arthur’s kingdom is on its last legs. Like their king.
Nor will it be a smooth ride for us squires at all times of a gigantic epic in its minimalism (as in his ghost story) that, unfortunately, suffers from a cumbersome passage after an intermission that seemed to lead us to a shortcut towards effervescence.
Okay, that does not come, but it is no less true that the film finds its reason for being in an insane outcome where nothing is what it seems and the author Lowery decides that he still hadn’t done his thing. Neither adventure film, nor horror tale nor medieval fantasy: ‘The Green Knight’ is another move.
Actually, the biggest drawback that I can put to the film is that evil that is doing so much damage to the cinema of 2021: ‘The Green Knight’, like so many others, has been running on the networks since mid-August. I am lucky to live in a country where it premiered on August 4 and I was able to enjoy the experience, but leaks are not helping for some titles to hit theaters.
We are facing one of those great stories of images calculated to delight from a big screen, and it’s a shame that it ends up coming through streaming, also making it difficult to have a physical edition in Spain. Hopefully 2022 will be more blunt and considerate.