Director: Brian Helgeland
People don’t like when you combine past events with modern music, but in 2001 directors did it any way, and somehow Moulin Rouge and A Knight’s Tale were still big hits. I think that’s, in part, because people understand that they’re being ridiculous when they complain about Nirvana being in a film set a hundred years ago. They understand that it simply doesn’t matter, that art can be expressed through music you didn’t expect, that it really takes away from the quality not at all to surprise you with a juxtaposed moment. Moulin Rogue is great, and so is Knight’s Tale, two movies that chose to use a gimmick; judge them for that if you must, but not for the results, which are better than you’re willing to admit.
William Thatcher is a young, penniless squire who works alongside Roland and Wat in aid to the knight Sir Ector, an aged jousting participant who roams the countryside making a living on tournaments. When Ector dies suddenly, it leaves his crew with nothing to work for and no way to make money; that is, unless one of them were to don his armor, pretend to be noble, and win some tilting matches. William is very skilled for his low birth and tender age, but with a visor down and a fake document that says he’s royalty, Will gets along just fine. Soon, his name is known all over Europe, or at least his false name, Sir Ulrich von Liechtenstein, and the challenges he’ll face grow larger as well, especially when he attempts to win the hand of the fair Jocelyn, who is also the target of the evil Count Adhemar, who will stop at nothing to see Will unhorsed, uncovered, and destroyed.
The modern music is just a small part of this presentation; it’s fun, but it’s in no way the main reason to watch, as it is also no reason to turn up your nose. It’s cool to hear new tunes in these ancient times, it works perfectly well, and it only sends the entertainment value shooting skyward, you boring old farts. Aside from that, there’s a main plot about jousting and fighting just waiting to be unearthed and appreciated, because wow is it fun. The matches are shot excellently, you feel every blow, and it really turns into a rousing sports movie like any other, just with the added elements of beating the bad guy and wooing the lovely maiden. Ledger was a superstar like none other, it’s so sad that he’s not with us, and the rest of the cast was also shockingly good: Sossamon, Sewell, Paul Bettany, Mark Addy, Alan Tudyk, Berenice Nejo, James Purefoy. Knight’s Tale has all you need, wrapped up with a nice bow, and we should be more appreciative that it was made at all.
My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆