I cannot stop thinking about the trailer for The Green Knight. The latest from David Lowery (A Ghost Story, The Old Man and the Gun) is an adaptation of the 14th century Arthurian poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and it looks absolutely stunning. The story follows Sir Gawain (Dev Patel), King Arthur’s nephew and one of the knights of the Round Table.
One day in December, a mysterious stranger with green skin—The Green Knight—enters the chamber and challenges any knight to strike a blow on him, with the prize for a true strike being the Knight’s own magnificent axe. A caveat: in a year and a day, the Green Knight will return the favor. Sir Gawain volunteers and successfully beheads the Green Knight. To everyone’s shock, the Knight remains alive and tells Sir Gawain he must meet him at the Green Chapel in a year so that the Knight can, in turn, strike his blow against Sir Gawain.
The main focus of the story is honor, perhaps the most important thing a knight can possess. After waiting for nearly a year, Gawain sets off to make good on his bargain with The Green Knight and preserve his honor, knowing that this may end in his death. The poem also tests Gawain’s honesty and chastity, with the climax of the story examining all of the tribulations he’s faced as a knight and his fortitude regarding his duty and identity.
Many fantastical things are alluded to in the poem but never take up any of the story’s real estate. David Lowery’s adaptation appears to be interested in giving some of the fantasy element more attention. There’s the obvious tree-looking Green Knight, a talking fox, roaming giants, and perhaps more to come. It remains to be seen whether there’s going to be any significant action sequences,
As I am getting my second vaccine shot at the end of the month, this might well be my first, highly anticipated theater experience in a year. A24 movies are nothing if not consistently gorgeous, and The Green Knight is shaping up to be no exception. Symmetrical shots scratch a very specific itch for me, but that’s not the only thing the film is armed with: the production design; the color grading; the camera rotating to visually turn the world upside-down as Gawain strides across the landscape; the awesome shot of Gawain on a throne, ablaze. The whole thing feels like a crazy dream with shades of del Toro, Aster, and Dark Souls.
I am irresistibly drawn to good trailer music, and this one slaps. The simple piano piece gradually gains supplemental instruments as the scope and scale of the plot grow over the course of the trailer. The apex hits when the horns blast and the tone is suddenly bent down with the shot of the giants. And the swell of music is abruptly cut off as Gawain arrives at the Green Chapel. “Honor…that is why a knight does what he does.”
My only issue is that the trailer might be a little misleading, especially with the final moments featuring the Green Knight picking up an axe and asking Gawain if he is ready. In the original story, there is no Hollywood-style final showdown, and given that this is Lowery, the source material’s finale is what we’re likely to see. Still, given the fact that Lowery has chosen to give more than a little attention to the more fantastical elements of the story, and that Lowery himself is such a gifted filmmaker, I’ll trust whatever decisions he makes for his retelling.
The Green Knight is slated for a July 30 release. In the meantime, drink in the stellar trailer.
So what do you think of the trailer for The Green Knight? Do you agree with Hawk that it will be a dark fantastical sight to behold? Let us know in the comments! And if you’re looking for more trailers we’ve got you covered!