Kunga Sagar’s review published on Letterboxd:
Unbelievably disappointing. Like many, I had the highest of hopes, as its glorious trailer made it out to be The Lord of the Rings meets Guillermo Del Toro, but I couldn’t have been more painfully wrong if I had tried. I don’t know much about the story it’s adapted from so I can’t comment on how accurate this version is historically or what they changed, all I’m looking at is how it works as a narrative film. Let’s get the only positive out of the way, Andrew Droz Palermo deserves his due, his cinematography is some of the most unique I’ve seen in years. It felt like Ingmar Bergman dipped in acid, which is a great feeling until you realize the script could care less about meeting that level of greatness.
It’s a bad sign when the audience starts chuckling at moments meant to be taken seriously. It’s one of the most tonally inconsistent films in recent memory, with awkward encounters played for laughs (but they’re aren’t in the least bit humorous, no matter how much it attempts to evoke the works of Robert Eggers) followed immediately by dreadfully dramatic and dull hero’s journey moments. It wants to take itself seriously while infusing moments of humor, but it’s so unfunny as well as obscure that it doesn’t work as a drama or satire, instead a weird middle ground that would’ve worked better as a three to five minute music video.
The Green Knight could’ve ended three different times, and the one they chose was remarkably unsatisfying. The final montage should’ve been the last scene in the film, it had a clear message about the price of being an icon (and fraud) that I understood and appreciated, and they pissed on it. Daniel Hart’s score was eerie, but the second and third acts were so boring and pretentious that it became obnoxious, as the excellent score and cinematography weren’t being met with a entertaining or thought provoking story. Dev Patel gives it his all, but his character is so surface level, and the sad part is he’s the most developed out of any character.
Kate Dickie, also known as Lysa Arryn from GOT and Katherine from The Witch, was a treat to see but she was subjected to weird close up shot monologues that didn’t explain anything for the audience or even advance the plot. Speaking of that horror classic, Ralph Ineson as Green Knight was actually cool, it had me begging for some sort of sword showdown. Alicia Vikander popping up twice needs explaining, as does Joel Edgerton’s moment of “affection,” as does the bipolar fox, as does everything in this mess. The hard-to-read title cards were pointless, it only convoluted the story further. It needed more Barry Keoghan. Perhaps I simply didn’t get the film I wanted, and a rewatch will benefit.