The Green Knight Review: Dev Patel As King Arthur’s Nephew Is A Joke

·3-min read

“Why the Green Knight, why not blue or red or black?” someone asks about the adversary that our hero must confront.

I have a much more important question: why Dev Patel, for Chrissake? Does he look like King Arthur’s nephew? If the 14th century medieval king were alive he would laugh the loudest and probably sue the makers of this dumb period drama trying hard to pass off as wise wonderful, but ending up looking like a wholly derailed unholy version of the Holy Grail.

Dev Patel recently played David Copperfield in Armando Iannucci film adaptation- where we were supposed to believe that Copperfield was a chocolate-coloured Brownman masquerading as a Britisher. The cult of colour blindness is truly killing all cultural credibility in Hollywood.

Patel as King Arthur’s nephew Gawain is God-awful. He looks eternally confused and acutely sex-starved.We first see him a brothel with his wickedly wanton wench (yes we are fully into the medieval mood) Essel, played by the supremely talented Alicia Vikander. Alas all of Ms Vikander’s magical powers of character assumption are put to the most preposterous test by the screenplay which is replete with corny situations and laughable dialogues.

At one point a queen tells our constantly confused hero to retrieve her head from the lake. “But your head is on your shoulder,” Gawain splutters like a teenager being force-fed Horlicks by his mother. No, insists,my head just SEEMS to be on my shoulder

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Okay. Just like this film SEEMS to be bland, dull and sluggish when in fact it is just the opposite.

Speaking of mother, the perpetually committed Sarita Choudhary plays Dev “Gawain” Patel’s mother. Poor Sarita has nothing to do except behave like Shabana Azmi on a bad-hair day. To be fair, Sarita does look like Dev’s mother. But does Sean Harris, who is as white and British as the Buckingham Palace, look anything like Dev’s Uncle King Arthur?

By now Dev Patel looks extremely agitated, as he should: when he beheads The Green Knight, the GK laughs and puts its head back where it belongs.

As the Green Knight Ralph Ineson has a good head on his shoulders. But his motivations as Gawain’s primary adversary are obfuscated by the gloom of time. Poor guy, he just has to ‘green’ and bear it as he waits for Gawain’s seemingly endless journey to end.

At some point, Gawain reaches a castle where he meets two royalties simply called The Lord and the Lady played by the wonderful Joel Edgerton and Alicia Vikander. Yes, yes, she has already appeared as the whore in the preamble. She has a double role like Sita and Geeta. In the (k)night (green or otherwise) she shows up in Gawain’s chamber. He catches hold of her and begins to run himself against her in a very pubescent gesture of affection.

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Doing his juvenile self-pleasuring, this is the only time Dev Patel looked convincing. It was back to an expression of chronic confoundedness when the earlier–mentioned Lord gallops up to the retreating figure of Gawain and says, “I’ve something to give you”.

Before Gawain could react Edgerton reached down from his horse and kissed Patel on the lips.

Good Lord! What is this? Is this really a re-telling of the medieval poem Sir Gawain And The Green Knight or a spoof on those stuffy royals in King Arthur’s court who were prone to bouts of childish valour and impetuous libidinousness?

For an ambitious costume drama, The Green Knight is depressingly devoid of an epic vision. The grandeur of medieval history is gone. Instead we have what seems to be a badly scripted joke on the Caucasian King Arthur’s brown-skinned nephew whose listless deportment hides a storehouse of ennui gathered from the growing realisation that this…this… mission (or what it is) is just not working.

Image Source: Instagram/thegreenknight, youtube/a24

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