'The Green Knight' Review With Casey
Director David Lowery is not a stranger to experimental or cerebral filmmaking, with his most popular example being the 2017 film, A Ghost Story. His latest experiment, The Green Knight, is adapted from the 14th century Middle English poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, about a member of King Arthur's court in the middle ages who accepts the challenge to a game of beheading from the magical Green Knight, and a bargain to reunite one year in the future. This bargain sends the reluctant hero on a quest through the foggy English countryside where he tests his wits, strength, and virtue.
Instead of words like "adventurous", "exciting", and "swift" to describe The Green Knight, I would use the word "unexpected". The film's mood and style rest comfortably in left field. With a lot of long tracking shots showing nothing especially interesting and many long silences between people, The Green Knight is not concerned with external physical action. It's more about the internal terrain our hero explores with each scene like a conceptual representation of an emotion or philosophy.
As our hero crosses paths with a crafty thief, nude giants, and a lonely ghost, this film is also not concerned with embracing a traditional narrative. Like its source material, The Green Knight is abstract with its large amount of symbolism and its rejection of audience hand-holding. I asked myself many times during this screening, "Wait. What just happened?" or "What does that even mean?" So be warned this is not an ordinary movie experience. But that's precisely why it's so impressive and mystifying.
Some moments are brilliant through the patient editing and rich earth tones of the cinematography. It achieves an almost perfect balance of a mainstream tale and an unusual psychological portrait. After the film's ending, I walked away scratching my head. But so many parts stayed in my head for days after seeing it, The Green Knight is obviously successful in showing a unique story that will remain spiritual and haunting.