Monday, September 29, 2014

A Knight's Tale (2001)

Director: Brian Helgeland

Writer: Brian Helgeland

Composer: Carter Burwell

Starring: Heath Ledger, Rufus Sewell, Shannyn Sossamon, Paul Bettany, Laura Fraser, Mark Addy, Alan Tudyk, Berenice Bejo, Scott Handy, James Purefoy

More info: IMDb

Tagline: From peasant to knight; one man can change his stars.

Plot: After his master dies, a peasant squire, fueled by his desire for food and glory, creates a new identity for himself as a knight.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? No.

Well here was a nice surprise.  I didn't think I was going to like it.  I'd heard it's filled with classic pop/rock songs which I initially thought was a ridiculous idea (as I'm sure everyone else did, too.)  Then you see it and the songs work.  You'll laugh your ass off every time one starts but they strangely work.  The cast is great especially Ledger (William/Ulrich) and his cohorts Paul Bettany (Geoffrey Chaucer) (and it's especially clever and fun how they played around with his character),  Alan Tudyk (Wat), Mark Addy (Roland) and Laura Fraser (Kate).  They're a lot of fun.  It was good writing, too.   
SPOILER ALERT... And I'll say this, too, the story took some turns that are atypical for a Hollywood picture like William falling out of love with Jocelyn (Sossamon) and into love with his blacksmith, Kate. But they just had to do the one thing that I don't think has ever not been done and that's have someone discover his ruse by making up a different identity and throwing it back into his face at the end.  Are there any films where someone hides their true identity, falls in love with someone under that false name/persona and it never becomes an issue?  Why does is have to always come back and bite them in the ass?  Just sayin'.  It'd be nice if a picture bucked the trend and didn't allow it to burden the character.  Another thing that surprised me is they set up Chaucer having a gambling problem but it only served to provide a few laughs for one small plot line. What didn't happen is him gambling away the gang's money near the end or something of the sort.  It was a nice restraint that I really appreciated.  END OF SPOILERS...YARRRRR!!! 

If you've been on the fence about watching this for one reason or another, give it a chance.  It's actually a fun and enjoyable movie.  I'm not saying it's going to be something you'll return to but you'll at least spend over two hours (and a quickly paced 144 I might add, and it goes by very quickly - impressive!) having a great time with some really fun characters. 

The Columbia Special Edition DVD comes with the theatrical 132 minute film and the 144 minute extended version (the one I saw). The extras included are a commentary with writer/director Brian Helgeland and actor Paul Bettany, 11 short (usually 2-5 minutes each) featurettes on various stages and aspect of the production, 6 deleted scenes with optional filmmakers' introductions and a 15 minute HBO making of featurette.

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