The Green Knight Shines

Director and Writer David Lowery retells the 14th century poem of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The cast delivers an incredible performance of this story of love, honor, bravery, sin/chastity, and loyalty.

For those who are not familiar of the tale: Christmas day, Gawain (Dev Patel) after a night of celebration, with his girl, Essel (Alicia Vikander) heads to church on Christmas day. Afterwards they join the Christmas day festivities at the Castle with Arthur and Guinevere, Gawain’s aunt, and uncle. The celebration surrounds the round table with the King and Queen at the head of the table. As the party continues, they are interrupted by a loud knocking that resonates throughout. The doors open for all inside to see a large man head to toe in green, sitting on his horse.

The Green Knight enters offering a game as Christmas merriment. An exchange, for a challenger to kill him with a stroke of his axe. If one succeeds in the task, the game is over. If the challenger fails, in one year at the same day, would need to meet the Green Knight who will take his turn by taking his swing on the axe.

Gawain takes on the formidable task and takes off the Green Knight’s head. In no time, the body and head of the Knight reanimates. As it comes back to life, picks up its head, and laughs. He reminds young Gawain that he is expected to present himself at the green chapel that is north. Gawain takes on the challenge, heading out to complete his quest. On his way, he faces many challenges that test him. Each stop is a lesson.

The consensus amongst the viewers is that the cinematography was fantastic. It is certainly a visual feast which at a point looks like Gawain is travelling in a fever dream. For those who are a fan of Arthurian legend, there is so much symbolism and imagery throughout the film. I am still working through and processing the meanings of the subtext.

Dev Patel begins as a boy, not yet a knight, yet he is constantly asked when he will be made a knight. He always responds with “not yet” because he knows that he is not ready. Those who are not familiar with the tale. The poem is written in the time of the Canterbury Tales where the stories are allegories.Lowery definitely has created a beautiful film.

4 Stars out of 5