‘The Green Knight’: David Lowery’s Arthurian Masterpiece

The Green Knight is exemplary in every way possible under the incredible direction of David Lowery as he creates one of if not the best film of this year.

CREDIT: A24

It is safe to say that 2020 provided us some of our worst moments. It was a time that was met with a lot of sorrow, grief, and uncertainty about our lives. In the movie space, we saw many delays while some of our most anticipated films were moved to streaming services while theaters remained shut down. There was something else that we got in 2020 that really made us realize that 2021 was going to be worth the wait. I remember seeing that first trailer for David Lowery’s The Green Knight and I was amazed at what was shown. Immediately I was beyond excited to watch Dev Patel play Gawain and the visuals of the trailer propelled my excitement to the moon, but the summer came along and no news about the film came forward so we had to imagine that it was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Later on before the year ended, we received news that the film would release in July 2021. My anticipation for this film kept building and building for what I imagined would be a good Arthurian motion picture. Fast forward to the present, I went to my local movie theater (following COVID guidelines) to finally watch this movie and I was giddy with excitement to finally sit down and set my eyes on the film.

The film stars Dev Patel as Gawain the nephew of King Arthur as he sets on a quest to find and face The Green Knight that tests his courage to become a noble knight of the roundtable. The film is written, produced, edited, and directed by David Lowery (A Ghost Story, Pete’s Dragon, The Old Man & The Gun) based on the anonymous poem Sir Gawain and The Green Knight. The film also stars Alicia Vikander, Joel Edgerton, Sarita Choudhury, Sean Harris, and Ralph Ineson.

David Lowery’s The Green Knight meets all expectations and blows them out of the water. A concise and reflective film about the struggle between expectations and our quest to be who we want to be. David Lowery’s love and patience for the source material shows throughout the movie paired alongside its exquisite cinematography by Andrew Droz Palermo. Along with its beautiful and moving cinematography, it is Daniel Hart’s groundbreaking score that helps create the atmosphere of our very contemplative and somber film. Dev Patel works wonders as Sir Gawain and truly captures every scene he is in. Him along with the supporting cast like Alicia Vikander’s two characters excel in the acting department.

The Green Knight is special and so far the best film to be released this year. The film takes its epic story to create a very patient film that speaks beyond its structure. Whether it is its daunting scenes of doubt in Gawain or its various moments that challenges the nobility of what it means to be someone as important as a Knight. We constantly are looking at the film hoping to see what Gawain will do to redeem himself and become the man he is set to be. The Arthurian world of David Lowery’s film is magical and never disappoints you throughout this quest of Gawain as we patiently watch a masterclass in filmmaking and storytelling.

Watch The Green Knight in theaters right now.

‘Zola’: A Mesmerizing Film From Janicza Bravo

Zola is brought to life from a twitter thread and works on all grounds being translated to the big screen.

CREDIT: A24

Zola is the newest A24 distributed film directed by Janicza Bravo. The film stars Taylour Paige as Zola a stripper who befriends Stefani played by Riley Keough and travels to Tampa, Florida to make some money at a strip club. What seems like your normal work roadtrip turns into an absolute nightmare for Zola. The film also stars Colman Domingo, Nicholas Braun, and Ari’el Stachel along with some familiar faces like Jason Mitchell. The film is adapted from an article based on the first thread of tweets by Aziah “Zola” King who is credited as Executive Producer on the film as well.

Zola is a chaotic ride but a pleasant one nonetheless filled with great performances from our main four actors, an impressive script, and magnificent direction from Janicza Bravo. Of course, Taylour Paige excels in her role as our titular character and owns every scene she is in with her composed and poised devotion to the portrayal of the character. I found myself even more mesmerized by Colman Domingo’s performance as X the roommate/pimp. Domingo from the get go brings the looming fear and carries his character so that you feel his presence even when he is not on screen.

Now because I am not one to spend a lot of time on the internet or really pay much attention to the toxic world of Twitter, I miss out on crazy stuff like this thread of tweets that King tweeted. I went into this completely blind about what this was about. Everyone kept talking about how this was about a thread but I had no idea what that was. What I watched was truly special and one of the most mature pieces of art I have seen. The approach to the sex work experience but especially as Taylour Paige said specifically the experience of black women sex workers brought a very appreciated level of authenticity. The style brought out by incredible lighting, script choices, and an aesthetic brought out by beautiful 16mm film stock makes for a unique film from Janicza Bravo. Zola is a film that still has not left my mind and is for sure one of my favorites of this year. I hope to see Aziah King aka Zola work with filmmakers more and present some of the thousands of stories she has for film ideas. I am also eagerly anticipating the next Janicza Bravo film. Overall, I can say that this is a film worth watching and I cannot wait to rewatch it!

Zola is in theaters and can be rented/streamed via Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, and other platforms.