CultureHead Magazine

Image via A24
Image via A24

David Lowery’s The Green Knight (2021) deviates significantly from the medieval romance it is based upon. Along with the lush cinematography, Dev Patel as Sir Gawain delivers a compelling performance. The film is deliberately slow, meditative, and ambiguous, raising important questions about chivalry and toxic masculinity that it doesn’t quite answer.

In this retelling, Gawain spends most of his time drinking and reveling in debauchery. An aging King Arthur invites him to his side at the Christmas feast and when Queen Guinevere asks him to share a tale, he claims to have none. As if on cue, the mysterious Green Knight arrives and issues a challenge that Gawain solely rises to meet. He wields Arthur’s sword Excalibur and slices off the Knight’s head in front of everyone. The Green Knight picks up his head that reminds Gawain of his promise: he must face the attacker a year later at the Green Chapel and receive a similar blow in turn.

Image via A24

Much of the film focuses on Gawain’s journey to meet his “death”- a journey that repeatedly makes him question his knightly code, moral values, and masculinity. In flashbacks, we see his interactions with Essel whom he cannot make a “lady” because she is a commoner.

When a spirit asks him to retrieve her head from a spring, he immediately asks her what she would give him in exchange and is reprimanded for it. While staying at a castle near the Chapel, he must fight off the advances of the Lady of the house, even if his instincts prefer otherwise.

Throughout, Lowry’s revisions Gawain as a deeply confused and conflicted man, whose actions are not always honorable and can be hurtful to others. Far from being a paragon of knightly virtue, Patel’s portrayal of Gawain questions the ideals of honor, righteousness, and heroism and if they are even relevant at all, without providing any clear answers.

The breathtaking visuals, the haunting background score, and Patel’s impeccable acting carry the film forward, even if the lack of a cohesive plot and slow pacing might detract some viewers. While the source material has been endlessly analyzed for its metaphors and themes, Lowery’s adaptation with its attention to detail similarly tries to build its own myth and symbolism, leaving behind a great deal open to interpretation. At its heart, the Green Knight is magical, poetic, and strange but occasionally, a little muddled.

More From CultureHead

The Green Knight: A Review

David Lowery’s The Green Knight (2021) deviates significantly from the medieval romance it is based upon. Along with the lush cinematography, Dev Patel

Click Here to read more

7 Best Moments in Marvel’s Loki (2021)

The Loki series may have changed the MCU forever. The Timeline is now free, leaving the stage open for multiverses to interact and

Click Here to read more

What Loki (2021) Means For the Future of the MCU

Marvel’s Loki was a pretty ambitious show, giving the God of Mischief a chance to be a hero and simultaneously rewriting the history

Click Here to read more

6 Easter Eggs in Marvel’s Loki (2021)

The Loki series is littered with Easter Eggs and references to past Marvel movies, Norse myths, and random nods to pop culture. Episode

Click Here to read more

Our Favorite Characters From Sweet Tooth, Ranked

The new fantasy drama series Sweet Tooth (now streaming on Netflix) is a refreshing take on the apocalypse genre, filled with anthropomorphic characters,

Click Here to read more

The Activision-Blizzard Lawsuit is an Industry Issue

Activision- Blizzard, The developers of world-renowned games like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Overwatch are involved in another disaster. A lawsuit

Click Here to read more

5 Shows Similar To The Fantasy Drama Series Sweet Tooth

The new fantasy drama series Sweet Tooth (now streaming on Netflix) is a mix of many different things: viral pandemics, surviving in the

Click Here to read more

5 Reasons to Watch Sweet Tooth

Sweet Tooth (now streaming on Netflix) is a lovely fantasy drama series that features a viral pandemic, very adorable half-human and half-animal children,

Click Here to read more

What’s Florence Pugh’s Future in the Marvel Universe?

The much-awaited Black Widow (2021) movie features our favorite Avenger (played by Scarlett Johannsson) retracing her family roots and facing her past tormentors.

Click Here to read more

Shiva Baby (2021): A Review

Written and directed by Emma Seligman, Shiva Baby focuses on Danielle (Rachel Sennot), a young Jewish bisexual woman who attends a “shiva” (the Jewish morning

Click Here to read more