Director: David Lowery Starring: Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander, Sean Harris, Sarita Choudhury, Joel Edgerton, Barry Keoghan Running Time: 130 minutes
‘The noble knight’ may be one of the original and best exercises in brand management, a close association forged between valour and jobs for the boys that may not really have reflected reality. Knights may have had a code alright, so do pirates. But even, or especially, when we’re telling myths and legends, we can’t help but tell on ourselves.
The original poem of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a tale of a servant of the realm who gets puffed up by his own importance, acts rashly and violently and is deceitful in his efforts to be honorable. When his dishonesty is revealed, Gawain is declared the most blameless knight in all the land and all the other knights wear a symbol of his adventure as a reminder to always be honest. Sounds a bit like Gawain was “one bad apple” that inspired some spurious reforms to me, and what’s interesting about David Lowery’s take on the legend is the ways in which it builds the gap between the stories that we tell and the cold, harsh reality, and how Dev Patel’s Gawain is used to explore the ways that actually, All Knights Are Bastards.