A Knight’s Tale



USA 2001
director / script : Brian Helgeland
producers include : Helgeland
cinematography : Richard Greatrex
editing : Kevin Stitt
music : Carter Burwell
lead actors : Heath Ledger, Paul Bettany, Rufus Sewell, Mark Addy
132 minutes

An endearingly shaggy hybrid of Gladiator and Shakespeare in Love, this kickass jousting picture ends up much more entertaining than either of its Oscar-laden predecessors. LA Confidential scriptwriter Helgeland aims cheerfully low but hits his target squarely enough – this is old-fashioned Saturday-morning-serial fare, but with a sharp post-modern edge to the jokes. Ledger is low-born William Thatcher, who dreams of glory on the field of combat. Aided by wandering scribe “Geoff” Chaucer (Bettany), he passes himself off as Count Ulrich of Gelderland, and battles with a dastardly rival (Sewell) for the hand of a fair maiden (Shannyn Sossamon). The picture’s at least 20 minutes too long, but the gimmick of using modern-day rock anthems pays dividends, and the superb Bettany adds an unexpected note of sheer comic class.

For the longer version of this review click here

20th June, 2001

by Neil Young
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