The Green Knight: A Visual and Auditory Masterpiece


On July 30, The Green Knight was released in major theatres across Canada. Directed by David Lowery and released by well-known production company A24, The Green Knight is an adaptation of a 14th-century Middle-English poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Dev Patel stars as Sir Gawain, the nephew of King Arthur (Sean Harris) sent on a quest to confront the titular Green Knight (Ralph Ineson), a mysterious creature who appears to King Arthur on Christmas Day and asks for a brave knight to accept his challenge. 

The Green Knight succeeds in its quest to be a spectacle that will leave cinephiles and general audience members alike talking. The film is an auditory and visual feast, the rich colour palette of the film’s characters and creatures prominent against the sombre and neutral palette of the backgrounds.

The lighting often feels claustrophobic which will delight some and alienate others. While used well, it is often hard to see the expressions of characters in extreme close-up shots. Of note is Gawain’s gorgeous mustard coloured cloak, which draws the eye in every scene and makes the character immediately recognizable in any long or exceedingly dark shot. 

Similarly, the score composed by Daniel Hart immediately immerses those watching into the world of The Green Knight. From quiet and pensive reflections to suspensive moments, Hart perfectly captures each moment and adds to the distinct cinematography of the film.  

As strong as some elements of this film are, all is not perfect with Lowery’s take on Sir Gawain.

Although it is apparent that The Green Knight was crafted with care, the narrative leaves much to be desired. 

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is difficult to adapt — as a poem, it does not provide as much context and description as a novel does. Lowery stays close to the source text, but many plot elements that were added fall flat.

For many, it will seem strange that The Green Knight is R-rated.

This choice will continue to mystify until near the end of the film’s narrative, where a questionable sex scene takes place. In addition, The Green Knight also has a confusing kiss. While this does take place in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, its placement in The Green Knight is out of place and goes unexplained. 

Overall, The Green Knight is worth watching in theatres on a half-price day.

Despite its faults, it is worth seeing for those who appreciate art films, Arthurian legends and/or the acting of Dev Patel.

In a cinema landscape that is currently filled with Disney blockbusters and lacklustre reboots, The Green Knight is a breath of fresh air. 

Leave a Reply

Serving the Waterloo campus, The Cord seeks to provide students with relevant, up to date stories. We’re always interested in having more volunteer writers, photographers and graphic designers.