HE: I’ve been telling myself that I have to see David Lowery‘s The Green Knight this weekend, but something in me is rebelling against the idea of seeing it in a theatre. The memory of Pete’s Dragon won’t leave me alone. Did you see it?
Stormy Monday: I was bored to tears.
HE: Thank God!!! I knew that 54% Rotten Tomatoes audience score had to be grounded in something or other. When 54% of the ticket buyers give it a thumbs-down, you know something’s wrong.
Stormy: I didn’t expect it to be near-plotless. It’s just a reason for Lowery to indulge in these dreamy visuals but the substance is pretty thin.
HE: So what’s everyone going nuts about?
Stormy: About basically how weird, seductive and visually sumptuous the whole thing is. Plus it’s pretty woke.
HE: What’s the woke aspect exactly?
Stormy: Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think there ever was an Indian knight before in a major studio picture
HE: Of course not, but that’s standard Hollywood “presentism” a la David Copperfield. Presentism is accepted as a given these days. Because even in a historical framework, filmmakers have to make it clear that all tribes are equally good to go in a historical context, and that racism is, was and always will be intolerable.
Stormy: Yah, revisionist history. But I couldn’t care less about that if the movie was actually absorbing, involving, etc.
“Still on Lowery Fence,” posted on 7.19.21: At Sundance ’13 (8 1/2 years ago) I became a David Lowery devotee after catching Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (descendant of Robert Altman‘s Thieves Like Us, young love, guns, outlaws, rural flavor).
Three years later I got off the Lowery bus after totally hating Pete’s Dragon — a bone-headed, nonsensical, friendly dragon film, from Lowery and Disney and costarring Robert Redford.
During Sundance ’17 I hated The Yellow Birds, which Lowery co-wrote the screenplay for, but fell head over heels for Lowery’s minimalist Ghost Story (silent, watchful ghost under a plain bedsheet).
In ’18 came Lowery’s decent, modestly approvable Old Man & The Gun (Redford as gentleman bank robber).
Lowery is clearly a grade-A director, but he has two modes — intriguing, lower-budgeted art-house guy and big-budget fantasy popcorn guy.
And now we have Lowery’s The Green Knight (A24, 7.30), a medieval fantasy flick based on an Arthurian legend, which has been praised by the sensible and respected Globe and Mail critic Barry Hertz (“Dev Patel can cut off my head any time he likes”) and N.Y. Times columnist Kyle Buchanan (“A great movie where a roster of A24 all-stars all get to kiss Dev Patel on the cheek”). King Arthur’s obstinate nephew Sir Gawain (Patel) on a quest to confront a formidable CG tree creature.
Lowery’s next film is Disney’s Peter Pan & Wendy…another one!
I’m extremely suspicious of The Green Knight raves. Who wouldn’t be? I want to hear from a couple of sensible sourpuss critics.