In ‘The Green Knight,’ a Star is Reborn

The sweeping Arthurian epic sees Dev Patel going on his own coming-of-age quest to become a new kind of leading man.

The Green Knight: Dev Patel
Dev Patel in "The Green Knight"

Trisha Gopal


July 30, 2021


6 min

When director David Lowery wrapped production on A Ghost Story (2017) — a movie filmed on a shoestring $150,000 budget that features Casey Affleck wearing a Charlie Brown-esque bedsheet for most of its runtime — he thought he’d take on another simple movie as his next project. The Green Knight is not exactly our definition of “simple.”

It’s Game of Thrones meets Andrei Rublev (1966) — with splashes of Dragonslayer and Monty Python (1998) — and it’s an epic in every sense of the word, even on an A24 budget. Imagine naked titans that roam the hillside, spirits whose heads fall off (a lot of decapitated skulls rolling about), a talking fox that spews out raspy premonitions, and a titular character who looks like Groot all grown up.

Based on a 14th century chivalric romance by “Anonymous,” as the movie opens, The Green Knight’s plotline is perhaps the simplest thing about it. The poem is one of the foremost and emblematic examples of the hero’s journey, a circular narrative device that sends a protagonist on an adventure outside their ordinary world, always to return a changed person. It is, truly, a story as old as time, one that we all know all too well.

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