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The Green Knight review roundup: why critics are raving about Dev Patel's new movie

Dev Patel in The Green Knight
(Image credit: A24)

Medieval epic The Green Knight is set to hit the big screen any day now, and we couldn't be more excited – especially after reading the reviews for director David Lowery's latest offering. Starring Dev Patel as Sir Gawain, a headstrong young knight, the movie is based on an Arthurian legend and follows Gawain on his quest to confront the titular Green Knight – with plenty of obstacles along the way. Alicia Vikander, Joel Edgerton, and Barry Keoghan also star.

While we wait for the highly anticipated movie to arrive in theaters on July 30, read on to see what the critics think of The Green Knight. And, for more from Dev Patel, check out the interview with the actor in the new issue of Total Film magazine.

Den of Geek – 4.5/5

The Green Knight is thus both a student of the past and a well-meaning raider of it; this is a film which will honor a story J.R.R. Tolkien singled out as one of the greatest works of English literature, as well as gracefully deconstruct it. There’s a singular, faintly mad vision at play in Lowery’s The Green Knight, and it’s led to one of the best films ever adapted from Arthurian lore.

The Guardian – 4/5

At a time when Hollywood has become obsessed with one-dimensional portrayals of superheroism, it’s a balm to see a director working in a similarly epic register to expose the fault lines of our adopted mythologies. Leisurely but never lugubrious, the film gives grounds for Gawain’s conflicted ambitions by placing him in a primeval realm matching his sought-after stature. 

IGN – 9/10

The Green Knight is truly astounding. Defying the standards for Arthurian legend adaptations, it heavily favors atmosphere and mood over action and monologues. Substantial performances marry with director David Lowery's sumptuous style to create a film that is sensational, less about story than the experience. If you can get on the wavelength of such an artful quest, you’ll be rewarded. Once you’ve found that footing, The Green Knight is a heart-rattling, loins-riling, and head-spinning trip that packs a profound punch.

IndieWire – 4.5/5

Hypnotic from its fiery start to its gut-punch of a finale and polished with a hint of heavy metal that makes the whole thing shimmer in the darkness like a black light poster in the basement of your friend’s parents’ house, “The Green Knight” might ride into theaters on 600 years’ worth of unsettled history, but Lowery makes it feel brand new by re-saddling it as a personal story about someone who’s just trying to become the kind of man he can live with, even if it kills him.

Polygon

Lowery more than catches an attentive audience’s attention with this film. His dazzling visuals, brilliant spectacle, and petrifying sequences are enrapturing. Likewise, Patel finally lays claim to the leading-man mantle so often bequeathed to him, yet so rarely earned. His career-defining performance should establish him as an actor made for big, grand epics. Lowery’s The Green Knight is cinema’s best Arthurian adaptation, which may matter only to literary scholars. Everyone else will have to settle for it being one of the best movies of 2021.

The Hollywood Reporter

The actors across the board are strong, notably [Alicia] Vikander, [Sarita] Choudhury and [Sean] Harris, but this is Patel’s film and he commands every scene. His path from the dissolute libertine of the opening, wild and sexy, to the burdened man who embraces his fate with solemn maturity is a riveting transformation. And Lowery writes a novel ending that allows us to see in a moving vision the fork in Gawain’s destiny represented by his arrival at the Green Chapel.

The Green Knight arrives in US theaters on July 30, while its UK release date has been delayed due to the pandemic. While we wait for it to hit the big screen, check out our list of the other upcoming movies to get excited about in 2021 and beyond.

I’m an Entertainment Writer at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections – I help bring you all the latest news and the occasional feature, too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.