A fascinating concept is buried under atrocious acting and dialogue (lots of telling not showing and then telling some more: “I need to visit my sister, she’s a psychologist too-” WHO CARES), a back-and-forth-spotlight narrative on the beach that’s chopped up like a middle school stage play, camerawork that somehow depletes the suspense and horror instead of adding to it, and an over-explained ending that mars any thematic poignancy that came before (see the “what were we fighting about” scene).
It’s slow and subtle psychological horror (the poignant production design parallels are powerful here, as is the intentionally convoluted time/place/person-jumping script) that ditches easy “losing mind” thrills in favour of a meaty, beating-heart character drama core which Hopkins masterfully drives home to the homelessness of the crushing final scene (“I have nowhere to put my head down anymore”) with the many emotions of the journey (confusion, anger, and bittersweet charm and ignorance).
After his master dies, a peasant squire, fueled by his desire for food and glory, creates a new identity for himself as a knight. (IMDb)
Hits all the right feel-good notes, with its rock ‘n roll-infused medieval sports underdog storyline nestled within a moving rags-to-riches tale featuring a memorable cast of secondary characters surrounding Ledger’s stubborn but likeable William (Bettany’s charismatic Chaucer and Tudyk ‘s fiery Wat are particular standouts). Passionate romance and a bevy of deliciously dramatic or humorous moments and one-liners round out this unabashedly straight-forward piece of cinematic candy.