Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
King Arthur legends—knights of the round table
Fantasy re-telling of a medieval fictional story
Sir Gawain (King Arthur’s nephew) and the Green Knight—gigantic emerald-skinned stranger and tester of men
Reckless and headstrong people
A knight who goes on a quest which tests his prowess
Testing by temptation a person’s true character
About the fall of mankind to worldwide depravity
What is SIN AND WICKEDNESS? Is it just “bad people” that are sinners, or are YOU a sinner? Answer
What does the Bible say about ghosts?
Nude female giants
Giants in the Bible
Dev Patel … Gawain
Alicia Vikander … Essel / The Lady
Ralph Ineson … Green Knight
Joel Edgerton … The Lord
Erin Kellyman … Winifred
Sean Harris … King
Anaïs Rizzo (Anais Rizzo) … Helen
Joe Anderson … Paris
Noelle Brown … Madam
See all »
See all »
A24 Films LLC
Come! Come gather round and hear the tale of Sir Gawain, cousin of the beloved and magnificent King Arthur. Gawain lives in the shadow of his uncle and aunt, feeling he brings great shame upon his family even being given a place of honor at a place at the Round Table, considering he, himself, is not a knight. The King assures Gaiwan that though he does not know him fully he does love him for his humility, and that his tale is just beginning.
But hark! The conversation abruptly comes to an end upon the entrance of a ghastly creature who proclaims himself the Green Knight. “Whoever shall strike me, be it by sword or other means [and I doth paraphrase here] and be able to take the axe out of my hand, must come to Green Chapel Hill one year hence where I shall strike thee down. Will no one take on my challenge?” No, not one brave knight cometh forth. However, out of the shadows draws forth a sound, so small from Sir Gaiwan, “I shall challenge thee!”.
With a deadly blow, the mighty Gaiwan beheads the dreadful Green Knight. But alas, the Green Knight rises from the dead and the talking head states, “One….year… hence,” riding forth into the night.
Countless tales and films have been made based on the life and legacies of King Arthur and his court. We’ve had animated films like “The Quest for Camelot,” a couple of the Shrek movies, and of course the classic Disney film “The Sword in the Stone.” We’ve had the typical adventure films and then of course we’ve had the comedic variations that may not have been focused ON King Arthur but were about his kingdom such as “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” If something is popular business people tend to focus and expand upon it.
However, there are those moments where some stories should just be left well enough alone. In my opinion, the tale of Gaiwan and the Green Knight is one of them, or at least this telling of it. This film is littered with heavy sex, graphic nudity, lust, mysticism and pure evil. At one point during the film I sat there and said to myself, “Father, forgive me for what I have just watched.”
The film’s main message seems to be “what kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?” (I’ll talk more about this with regards to how it applies to Christians later.) As I sat pondering that message, reviewing the film, I wondered if that’s what the actors and actresses would want this film to be… a part of THEIR legacy—to define their legacy. Sure, perhaps this is a “small name film,” but it will still be found now and for years to come. Like your profile on Facebook or the stuff you post on Instagram, it necessarlily doesn’t disappear easily.
What kind of content do these actors and actresses want to be remembered for, especially since many of them are just starting out?
Nudity: Extreme. In an extended sequence, fully nude female giants are shown walking in a field, and we are exposed to full-frontal nudity (genitals covered), but one chest is focused on for a few minutes during a conversation. We also see rear nudity as they walk. Throughout the film, both male and female bare backsides are shown multiple times. A woman is dimly seen standing nude (full frontal).
Sex: Gawain drowns his concerns in sex and drink for a year. People are shown having sexual intercourse in a hallway. Some intense intercourse scenes are featured between two main characters, and at the end of one a sexual liquid is shown on the man’s hand. A man awakens on Christmas Day in a brothel—active women and men. A man kisses Gawain on the lips. Talk of rape.
Violence: Very Heavy. A man’s head is seen on fire at the beginning of the film. There are graphic decapitations with axe and sword. The Green Knight is beheaded, and then his head talks. Puppets are shown to children of Gaiwan beheading the Green Knight and the Green Knight doing the same. Battlefield views of dead soldiers are shown pierced by arrows, and another man impaled on large stakes. A young boy is killed in a war. A man’s head is cut off right after a vine penetrates him. The lead character slowly pulls out a portion of his own intestines.
Blood spills on a table. A skeleton is seen in a cage. We see a character as a skeleton. A character blisters up from a poisonous food and vomits. Dead animals are shown from hunting. A child is bought and ripped from its mother.
Occult: A ritual is performed. Mediums are seen transcribing what a character is saying in another room, and use they summon the Green Knight. A medium is seen chanting spells and creates a protective magical cloth. Ghosts and other spirits depicted. Witches and witchcraft are part of the story.
Again, the film’s entire message seems to revolve around the idea that one’s legacy is what matters most, and that how one defines it is critical. This is completely contrary to the Word of God. Sure, works matter to a certain extent. But faith in Christ drives us to live according to God’s will and therefore our works will be pleasing to God. It’s not a “let’s see how well we do on Earth” contest. Here is what scripture says….
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. —Hebrews 11:6
For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. —James 2:26
Our purpose then is to, as the Scriptures state, “store up heavenly treasures in Heaven” (Matthew 6:19-20). That’s our legacy, what we can stand and attest to when we meet our Lord.
And at the end of this review, I think about the legacy and the role this film should play in the history of movies in general and that is… NONE WHATSOEVER.
Sure Green Knight’s message is there, I guess. The message, though, is lost in the muck of the content. You don’t need to watch the film. I did that for you. Skip this film completely.
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.