"A Knight's Tale"
Directed by Brian Helgeland ("Payback").
Written by Brian Helgeland.
Starring Heath Ledger, Paul Bettany and Shannyn Sossamon.
Release Year: 2001
Review Date: 5/14/01
Yep, it's me again!
I figured, it's a Monday, why not go out and
catch a flick? So, my friend Amanda and I went over to the local
multiplex to catch “A Knight's Tale”, starring Heath Ledger from the
Mel Gibson adventure film “The Patriot” from last year.
The story, if you want to call it that,
involves a peasant named William (Ledger) that becomes the greatest
jouster in Europe by stealing his dead master's armor and pretending
he is a knight to gain entrance to jousting tournaments. Along the
way, he romances a beautiful princess (Shannyn Sossamon) and, with
the help of a merry band of cohorts, most notably some guy
named...Chaucer (Paul Bettany)...he vies for the World Championship
in the joust.
Okay, the story is pitiful, and made more
pitiful because the writer/director, Brian Helgeland (his resume
includes one great film, “LA Confidential”...the rest are in the bad
category, like “976-EVIL”), tries to introduce some deeper meaning
to the William character in the last half-hour of the film, making
for groans and ughs from people in the audience.
But, the film has such great energy that it
makes for a pretty cool ride throughout the majority of the film.
Helgeland plays with convention and sets many of this film's
16th-century scenes to...20th century rock music, like “The Boys are
Back in Town” and “We Will Rock You.” I thought that this would be
either really stupid or just really awkward...but somehow, this all
worked! It leads to dirty peasants singing the words to the songs,
and it looks hilarious! And speaking of hilarious, see this film
just to watch Bettany play Chaucer up as one of the best onscreen
orators you will see this year. Bettany is the best, and sometimes
only, reason to watch this film, but every scene he is in is
fantastic. By the time he is introducing William at the various
jousting tournaments, yelling and screaming while delighting the
crowds with the past accomplishments of William's faux-legendary
knight (spouting off statements like “The Protector of Italian
Virginity”), you WILL be rolling in the aisles.
Ledger is good, as are his main cohorts,
Roland (Mark Addy) and Wat (Alan Tudyk). Much comedy is had just
watching Tudyk grimace throughout the picture. Sossamon's outfits
and especially her hair are ridiculous in the movie; besides the
music, everything else in “A Knight's Tale” tries to stay true to
the time period, but her outfits didn't fit at all. (This is very
similar to Helgeland's so-so “Payback” with Mel Gibson, in that all
of the things in that movie stayed true to the present day except
for the phones used in the film; you may remember that no one is
carrying a cell phone and all of the phones are rotary dial, despite
the fact that it was supposed to be 1999.)
This is a good time, at least when it makes
fun of itself. Otherwise, the acting is not very strong and the
story in-between jousts is weak. Catch it before 6 PM and it will
be “all good”, as the kids like to say.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard