Director: David Lowery
Story By: David Lowery
Cast: Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander, Sarita Choudhury, Sean Harris, & Ralph Ineson.
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Damn. Damn. Damn. I had such high hopes for this film. I can’t remember exactly what it was about the trailer that hooked me in, but whoever was in charge is a pro at deception!
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Below are my grades for key components in #TheGreenKnight that I find to be key in any story/film/series—Theme, Plot, Pacing, and Character Arc/Development.
Additionally, I have added an entertainment factor scale to help you determine whether or not the film is something you’d be interested in taking time out of your weekend, evening, or day to watch. The scale range consists of: Worth the Watch/$$$, Interesting Enough (if looking for something new to start), Wait for Streaming, Don’t Rush, & Don’t Watch.
I have also added a few non-spoiling thoughts, wonderings, and comments as I watched the film to help give some rationale for my grades and entertainment scale.
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Plot & Story: C
Character Arc/Development: F
General Entertainment Factor: Don’t Watch
Film Enthusiast Entertainment Factor: Wait for Streaming/Don’t Rush
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1. Where in the hell was the story intentionality and cohesion!? A big part of this lacking is due to pacing and editing, but my goodness! So what we have is a story about the nephew to a king who seems to just be young and reckless; and gets randomly placed in a situation where he now has to commit to a promise of game.
Act One was possibly the longest yet quick, and most boring acts I’ve seen on screen; and it did in fact set up the main premise of story, but does very little to set up the protagonist to make the story worth me being invested in.
Act Two had beautiful cinematography, but was also slightly boring. It did, without any effort, follow through on the main premise of Act One, but I was still following a character who didn’t give me any real reason to invest in watching him.
Act Three was possibly the most interesting of all, but it felt the most disjointed because of editing.👀🥴🤦🏾♂️👎🏾
2. To piggyback positively from point #1, the cinematography was absolutely beautiful. 🙌🏾
3. Dev Patel is bae! Yes yes yes! 😍😍😜
4. The pacing of this film draaaaaaged for most of the film in terms of story and character support (but also seemed to simultaneously rush in Act One strangely enough). Act One rushed past giving us an opportunity to truly know Sir Gawain and his family history, but dragged to set up the environment it felt like—but for what? 🤦🏾♂️👎🏾
It seemed that Act Two was meant to display the raw truth of medieval travels—a lot of land and uneventful days. And though the environment and scene set ups during this act were beautifully shot, I did not pay 20.00 to watch hours of a man traveling on a horse. Are you freaking kidding me!?😩🤦🏾♂️👎🏾
Act Three is where things finally pick up, and the story even feels more interesting. It’s the best part of the film. 👍🏾
5. Alicia Vikander was a surprise fave in terms of her character performance. I really enjoyed her. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👍🏾
6. Um…I want that mustard cloak! 🙌🏾
7. Ooop, not the nut-rag visual. 👀😂
8. So I definitely feel that a messaging attempt focused on either recognizing or finding purpose for one’s self. We see this in the Act One’s rush introduction of our protagonist, through the situations he finds himself in in Act Two, and with his final statement and action in Act Three.
The issue is that the story isn’t cohesive enough to get that messaging out clearly, for me. Act One missed the important task of really setting up our character and his internal conflict(s), so I just felt left with all this airy space of beautiful visuals and no actualized meaning to Sir Gawain. 🤦🏾♂️👎🏾
9. Chile, that “white horse kiss!” I was NOT expecting that. 🤭
10. Not sure if it was just me, by the first 8-10 minutes felt very theatrical—Especially the opening scene. It gave, “enter stage right” a little bit. 😅
11. The character development was disappointing. Sir Gawain was literally just pulled throughout this entire film. It was like watching a prank where someone tied a rope attached to a truck around someone’s ankle unknowingly, and then the truck took off. And it’s not just our protagonist, it’s also his mother and the relationship with the King, especially considering the racial aspect.
I genuinely know nothing about any of these characters—how they came to be who they are, why they do what they do, or how they got where they are. There are certain things in film that, at this point, can be overlooked and rushed over for the sake of getting to what’s important (like needing to show domestic violence, abuse, or even a killing technique), but character background such as internal conflicts isn’t one. Personally, I believe a film should never sacrifice us (the audience) getting to understand the character who is taking us on a journey, and this film did just that. 😩🤦🏾♂️👎🏾
12. Unless I happened to miss something, but how did Sir Gawain get that item back? The man definitely took it with him on the horse…🤔
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Overall, #TheGreenKnight gives Game of Thrones season 3- meets The Wizard of Oz- meets Nomadland. And though this mash up sounds really amazing, it’s not due to about 85% of this epic fantasy being the Nomadland aspect; and this isn’t the type of film for a heavy Nomadland comparison—even if it is meant to be an origin/prologue to something bigger.
It seems to me that the focus of this film was mainly the production and not necessarily the story (even the language on the posters about “courage” and “honor” aren’t even followed through). The cinematography is amazing, the sound mixing and design is also really strong, and even aspects of the visual directing is solid. Unfortunately for me, I saw it all as a waste of amazingness. A waste of characters. A waste of production. A waste of art in my opinion because of the story being pushed to the wayside.
I believe there is a follow up to this film, and I will watch the follow up because I want to see what David Lowery actually had in mind, and see how he pulls and expounds from this first film. BUT…if the follow up film is just as lackluster as this film, story wise, I don’t think I could ever watch a David Lowery film again unless it’s given the utmost praise to the point that his film is something even some in minority communities actually happen to speak positively about. I don’t know, but something just feels very experimental & mediocre white man-ish about the effort of this product.