MOVIE REVIEW: The Green Knight (2021) – A Cinematic Masterpiece

By: Micah Burkholder | Contributor

Photo Credit: Pinterest

We have no idea who the actual writer of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is, but we do know that J.R.R. Tolkien translated the Middle English poem into a modern idiom, which is a far-reaching, culturally resonant, mythic morality tale.

“Of all the things that men may need, ’tis most of love they sing indeed.”

– J.R.R. Tolkien.

“The Green Knight” is a movie that I’ve been excited about since the day it was announced. I was finally able to watch this movie by myself and I loved pretty much every single aspect of it. Let me explain exactly why. 

It is a tale of Sir Gawain who believes in chivalry and honor as he goes on an adventure of enchantment, temptation, and destiny. It is my all-time favorite medieval story, and a poem whose themes and symbolism always stuck with me. 

Like the poem, the movie follows Gawain, King Arthur’s nephew and a Knight of the Round Table. This movie is a fantasy retelling of the poem, and I was invested from the first act to the final scene. There have been many adaptations of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and David Lowery’s movie is truly the best one that I’ve seen. David Lowery’s vision for the world this movie takes place in is fantastic and twice as artistic as any film he has made, such as A Ghost Story and Pete’s Dragon.

“The Green Knight” has it all: great writing, beautiful cinematography, excellent visuals, great voice acting, a great soundtrack, and gorgeous effects. I have seen “The Suicide Squad,” and it was pretty good. But I don’t believe for a second that “The Suicide Squad” movie beats “The Green Knight” in terms of writing style and directing.

Where this movie truly shines is how beautifully executed everything is. The camera work and filmmaking style that A24 films are known for is in full display in this movie. You can easily tell a lot of heart and soul is put into the way the story unfolds. You can tell that the movie tries its best to lure you into the world. The execution of the main character and his journey is astonishing.

The storytelling in this movie is definitely better than most movies that came out this year. The plot may seem predictable, but it also leaves behind a great message of chivalry living on. A knight’s mind must be clear; that’s what this movie gives you with its message. The whole meaning of this movie lies with Gawain wishing to have honor in the name of his king.

The cinematography and visuals make this movie truly a beautiful, mesmerizing experience. It is not afraid to lure you in with its artistic setting and experience its lore. The camera work doesn’t release you from its grasp when something dangerous happens. These camera techniques around the first act, the second act, third act make it seem like something either fateful or redeemable would come for Gawain. The visuals look and feel like a massive Renaissance painting is coming to life.

Dev Patel’s performance as Gawain is absolutely amazing. I might just go ahead and say everybody did a great job bringing their characters to life. I also believe that this movie may have given us a better version of King Arthur than Charlie Hunman’s portrayal. “Legend of the Sword” (2017) was a decent film at best, but nowhere near the quality of “The Green Knight.”

Just hearing the soundtrack for this movie instantly brightens my day. Be Merry, Swete Lorde is a beautiful short song to end this movie with, and Daniel Hart is an excellent composer. 

Jeremy Jahns has said “The Green Knight” is to the Fantasy genre what Blade Runner 2049 is to the Sci-fi genre. I completely agree with him on that statement. “The Green Knight” is an excellent, engaging, gripping, gorgeous, and provocative movie that isn’t afraid to hit you with its dark themes, its rich narrative, and its symbolism. It is a film that I will instantly rewatch by the time it comes out on Blu-ray and other streaming services.

In my opinion, “The Green Knight” is the best movie of 2021 thus far and another amazing film by A24!