Film Review: A Knight’s Tale

Annoyingly, my planned evening of starting the bank holiday weekend with a long overdue screening of Saving Private Ryan went out the window due to time constraints, a Sky+ box with a mind, or rather updated EPG, of it’s own and the threat of a very early start the next morning. And so instead, it was once again back into the collection to find something to watch. And this time around A Knight’s Tale caught my eye.

In one respect, this was taking a risk because I used to love A Knight’s Tale. This is a film that, as a result of having mates staying over, I have seen more times than is probably healthy. It even impressively managed to replace Cruel Intentions and “that kiss” as the “go to” film we would watch. But, should I have watched it or should I have left memories of former glory lie? On recent outings, returning to the films of my youth, dusting off the DVD, literally, has proven a disappointing let down, would the same fate behold my favourite Noble?

Thankfully, I can report that all is still good in the world of nobility. That, the film I remember, that I found so funny, enjoyable and charismatic all those years ago has more than stood up to the test of time. It is even still find ways to entertain and secrets to reveal a new. Even knowing exactly where it is going, how it is ending and the twists it takes, it took me on an adventure as though this were the first time we’d ever come together.

With Who Framed Roger Rabbit, a full on slapstick comedy, failing so miserably in the renowned “6 Laugh Test”; A Knight’s Tale had no such issues. I just find it funny. I find the major supporting characters and especially the relationship between Paul Bettany as Geoff Chaucer and Alan Tudyk as Wat simply laugh out loud funny. It just hits my sense of humour. And thankfully, by the looks of it, always will. The 6 Laugh Test was dispatched in rapid fashion and while I didn’t actually count the total number of times I’m sure you’d have probably run out of fingers and potentially¬†even toes long before the end. And that is in one respect slightly bizarre, because A Knight’s Tale isn’t an overly comedic film. It uses comedy to set the tone and depth of the film, because at it’s heart is a light but ultimately serious film. But as I said, it just appeals directly to my sense of humour.

And it’s the supporting characters that make and/or steal the film. Heather Ledger is excellent in the lead role as William Thatcher, but he is overshadowed by Tudyk and Mark Addy as his loyal companions, who in turn all pale to Bettany. In fact, it’s A Knight’s Tale that has lead to my slight obession with Bettany’s on screen credentials, as well as being, the one and only although slightly strange, Man Crush I have. Bettany just makes the film. He brings a touch of class to it, he raises the bar without ever looking like he is trying. It’s one of those impressive feats that his performance has such quality to it that it doesn’t overpower or overly steal the film but you know the it would be far, far poorer without it.

But the real enjoyment for me in this film are the little touches. Yes, simplistically it’s the story of a “boy done good” set in medieval Europe with jousting as it’s vehicle but when you start to look a bit deeper you quickly realise that this film actually has nothing really to do with social position and to me at least, is actually an examination of personality and what it truly means to have a good heart. And that’s why and where the warmth of this film grows from. It is a film with a beautiful personality and a loving heart.

And when you add that, to the cinematic brilliance behind the film making: the stunning use of Prog Rock to emphasise characters growth and journey¬†throughout northern Europe while helping to reinforce it’s comedic roots, the little touches like the London Eye style Ferris wheel on the London skyline, Kate’s branding and even the Gelderland football chants, this film just takes so many elements of modern life and seamlessly and with utter class works them together to leave you with a final product, that nearly 15 years after it first arrived on screen it just as good as ever.

I am so glad that as a potential trip back down memory lane, A Knight’s Tale didn’t fall down, age or lose face but rather brought back into my life happy memories, plenty of laughs and a damn good film. After all, it has been weighed, it has been measured and it most certainly has not been found wanting.

8 out of 10 stars (8 / 10)

Posted on by 5WC in Film First Edition

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