David Lowery

7.0 Ain't Them Bodies Saints (2013)
5.0 Pete's Dragon (2016)
7.1 A Ghost Story (2017)
6.8 The Old Man & the Gun (2018)
6.0 The Green Knight (2021)

David Lowery (USA, 1980) debuted with St Nick (2009).

Ain't Them Bodies Saints (2013)

A Ghost Story (2017)

Pete's Dragon (2016) was a remake of a Walt Disney movie.

The Old Man & the Gun (2018)

The Green Knight (2021) is an adaptation of the 14th-century poem "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight." Slow and overlong, the film is a visual delight but little else. The story is trivial and told with simplicity. The ending redeems what is otherwise a pretty dull experience.

In the distance we see a windmill on fire. The camera walks backwards into a home and shows Gawain asleep. It is Christmas and we are in a brothel. Gawain parts from his girlfriend Essel and rides to his palace in Camelot where his mother scolds him for smelling like a drunk and spending the night out. When Gawain leaves, we see his mother perform a magic ritual and she stares into the camera with an anxious look. Gawain joins a party at the Round Table with his uncle King Arthur. Summoned by the magic of Gawain's mother, a Green Knight rides in, interrupting Arthur's speech to his knights. Without saying a word, he delivers a letter to Arthur. The letter proposes a game with the knights: if a knight can land a blow on the Green Knight, such a knight will have to meet the Green Knight in one year and receive the same kind of blow by the Green Knight. Gawain is the only one who volunteers. Arthur hands his sword, Excalibur, to Gawain, and, with it, Gawain beheads the Green Knight, who doesn't even try to avoid the blow and instead offers the neck. The beheaded Knight picks up his severed head and gives Gawain an appointment in one year time, when he will return the blow in kind.
Almost one year later, we see a puppet show for children reenacting Gawain's feat while Gawain is in bed with Essel. Arthur reminds Gawain of the covenant that must be fulfilled on Christmas. A group of women led by his mother make a green girdle and a priest blesses a green axe. His mother tells him that the girdle will protect him. On the way to the meeting place, the Green Chapel, Gawain stumbles on a battlefield littered with dead bodies. The only living being is a boy who starts a conversation and then gives him directions. Gawain follows his directions only to be ambushed precisely by this kid and his friends. A terrified Gawain begs for his life. They steal his axe, his girdle and his horse. There is a skeleton nearby, a sign that they have used that trick before. Gawain runs through the forest until dark. Then he looks for shelter in an abandoned shack by a lake. The ghost of a young woman, Winifred, appears and leads him back into the forest, to a pond, where her head lies. She tells him that a lord tried to rape her and, when she resisted him, he beheaded her. She asks him to retrieve her head. Gawain demands a reward. He dives in the pond, finds the skull at the bottom, swims back up, and finds a fox where the ghost was. Inside the house he finds the skeleton of the woman in the bed and places the skull on the pillow. The skull turns into a living head and tells him that the Green Knight is someone he knows. His green axe reappears. He resumes his journey on foot. The fox follows him. He survives on berries. Feverish, he has hallucinations, notably some giant naked mute women emerging from the mist. Finally he sees a light and reaches a castle. Its lord welcomes him as if he knew that he was coming. In fact, the lord knows his name, and knows why he's there, but doesn't explain how. The lord introduces him to his wife (played by the same actress who plays Essel). They sit at a table with a blindfolded old woman who doesn't speak. The lord tells him that the Green Chapel is nearby and invites him to stay until Christmas' Eve. The beautiful lady, always followed by the blindfolded woman, gives him a gift: a book. She demands a kiss in return. She offers to make a portrait of him, which she makes instantly but it's upside down. She removes from his neck the amulet that Essel gave him. The lord asks him to play a strange game: the lord will give Gawain everything that he catches hunting and Gawain in return will give the lord anything he receives in the castle that doesn't already belong to the lord. The old blindfolded woman touches Gawain's forehead but doesn't say anything, and walks away like a ghost. While the lord is out hunting, the lady walks into Gawain's room and offers herself to him after giving him the green girdle, claiming that she made it, and repeating her mother's admonition that he will be safe as long as he wears it. Suddenly Gawain realizes that the old blindfolded woman has been there all the time and, scared, flees the castle. In the forest he meets the lord, who demands that he fulfills their game: he has to give the lord whatever he receives in the castle that didn't belong to the lord already... the girdle. Gawain pretends that he has nothing to give him. The lord has captured the fox but releases it. The fox suddenly tries to stop Gawain from boarding a boat to cross a river and speaks with human voice begging Gawain to give up his quest and return home. The Green Chapel is on the other side of the river and the Green Knight is already there but is like frozen. He wakes up the following morning, Christmas Day, grabs an axe, tells Gawain to kneel, and lifts the axe to behead Gawain, but Gawain is a coward and runs away. He finds his horse and rides back to Camelot.
His mother washes his back, Essel makes tender love to him. Now the story accelerates: years go by in a few minutes. Arthur is dying and makes Gawain the new king. Essel gives birth to Gawain's son, but Gawain leaves her and she crawls in vain after him. Gawain takes the son with him and marries an aristocrat. His son grows up and is killed in battle. The people come to hate Gawain. His new wife gives him a daughter. Rebels surround and attack the castle. Both his wife and his mother abandon him. As the rebels break into the gate and are about to kill him, disappointed by life, Gawain removes the green girdle. Instantly, his head detouches and rolls down. It was all a vision: he is still kneeling and the Green Knight still has to behead him. Gawain removes the girdle and tells the Green Knight that he is ready. The Green Knight thinks that Gawain is courageous when in reality Gawain is ready because he doesn't want to live the life that he has seen in his vision.
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