Saturday, August 29, 2015

Movie #325: A Knight's Tale

A Knight's Tale is a 2001 comedy starring Heath Ledger, Mark Addy, Alan Tudyk, Paul Bettany, Rufus Sewell, Shannyn Sossamon, and James Purefoy. Despite the title, it's not really based on Chaucer's work.

A young squire named William (Ledger) impulsively takes the place of his dead liege in a joust, wins, and decides to "change his stars" with the help of his two buddies Wat (Tudyk) and Roland (Addy). They pick up an impoverished and naked poet named Geoffrey Chaucer (Bettany), who forges the proper papers, and a widowed armorer (Laura Fraser), and embark on a whirlwind tour of tourneys across France, crossing lances with the diabolical Count Adamar (Sewell) and making friends with the Prince of England (Purefoy, who looks too much like Sewell in some shots).

And, of course, William falls in love with a noble lady (Sossamon), eventually gets outed as a peasant, gets knighted by Prince Ex Machina, and goes on to win it all. Yay!

The plot is simplistic, sure, but there's more to the movie than that. The chemistry between William and his friends is great, Sewell looks like he's having fun chewing scenery, and, of course, the anachronistic music ("Golden Years" at a dance, "We Will Rock You" at a joust) helps to put these scenes in context in a way that period music would not. The dialog is snappy and fun, and Tudyk and Bettany play nicely off each other.

About my only complaint is Sossamon; she's boring. She's playing Girlfriend, sure, but she doesn't have the same spark onscreen that the other actors do. As a point of interest, her lady-in-waiting is played by Bernice Bejo, who would go on to win an Oscar for The Artist.

My Grade: B+
Rewatch Value: High

Next up: Kung Fu Hustle