6/10 Writer/director David Lowery has an extremely varied filmography as he has tackled everything from dramas to ghost stories to children’s movies. Lowery has now decided to go after the medieval/fantasy genres to inspired, if not mixed results. On one armor cladded hand, this is Lowery’s most visually striking film to date. The visuals are awe inspiring as the tone and mood that Lowery establishes sucks you in from the opening frames. He is heavily aided by one of the best scores of the year, as well as brilliant cinematography/lighting and Oscar nomination worthy costume design and production design. Even the casting is rather daring yet completely works. Despite coming in at just over two hours and taking its time, this slow burn is never boring. The quest unfolding constantly brings up new and exciting danger cloaked in the movie’s dark color scheme. Nothing becomes predictable as we are constantly wondering what is happening and what will come next. Due to the movie’s delay because of the China Virus, Lowery was able to re-edit some of the movie, allowing it to breathe more and be less rushed. Even though I can’t watch the original cut to compare it to this final, theatrical version, I will always err on the side of not rushing a movie along for the sake of meeting some imaginary, self-imposed (or often studio imposed) running time standards. While the strong direction sucks you in, there are a few problems with the script that I took issue with and I admit to feeling perplexed once the end credits began to role. Before I get into script issues, I’ll point out that the movie puts some medieval font/text onscreen throughout the movie’s duration. While fine in theory, the font makes several words extremely difficult to read and some of the text flashed so quickly that there was no way anyone had time to read/decipher what was onscreen before it was abruptly taken away. As for script issues, certain quick scenes didn’t feel necessary to the plot moving forward and felt like they were only included to show off the movie’s impressive visual effects. For example, we get a quick scene (showcased in the movie’s trailer) of some giants walking about. When the scene unfolds in the movie, nothing actually happens and if the entire scene was removed absolutely nothing about the movie would change or be impacted. Another moment later also has a male character’s sexuality being revealed to be homosexual which felt out of place and more forced than anything. Having characters play multiple roles was also a bit strange and the movie’s slightly ambiguous ending gave me mixed feelings as well. In fairness, movies like this often are able to change your own perception of them over time upon repeated viewings at various stages of your life. I often re-read old reviews I’ve written to jog my memory after I have recently revisited a film to see if my initial thoughts are completely justified and reinforced. Yet with more open ended movies like this, I could see myself liking or disliking this movie more into the future. Time will tell once the Arthurian dust has settled far into the future but for now I commend Lowery’s valiant effort, even if the movie fell short of my expectations. The gorgeous visuals, strong performances and incredible score make this an easier pill to swallow for casual film goers.

#AKnightsFail / #TheGreenOldDeal / #TheDarkGreenKnight / #TheKnightBeforeChristmas / #TheKnightBetweenOceans / #A24GaveTheGreenLight

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