Review of 'A Knight's Tale'

a_knights_tale.jpg In the age of chivalry, William (Heath Ledger), the son of a peasant dreams of becoming a knight and competing in jousting tournaments. Working as a squire when his master dies he and his loyal friends Roland (Mark Addy) and Wat (Alan Tudyk), aided by the forging and oratory skills of Geoffrey Chaucer (Paul Bettany) they create the persona of nobleman Sir Ulrich Von Lichtenstein from Gelderland which William uses to enter various tournaments that he dominates particularly in jousting which is seen as the most prestigious. The current champion Count Adhemar (Rufus Sewell) is jealous of this talented upstart and will stop at nothing to see him toppled. Will William be able to keep his secret from the evil (boo-hiss) Count and, better still, gain the love and admiration of the beautiful Lady Jocelyn (Shannyn Sossamon)?

From the opening minutes of “A Knight's Tale” where the crowd in period dress clap to the beat of “We Will Rock You” you know that this is not a traditional tale of Knights but despite these periodic interruptions of contemporary life the film does actually take it's conceit quite seriously. Indeed, the jousting is done for real and it looks absolutely incredible. The late Heath Ledger is great as the young William who is determined to get what he wants despite any impossibilities thrown in his path. Tudyk and Addy as William's friends add a bit of quirkiness and humour to the proceedings aided and abetted by a rather unusual portrayal (but perhaps not out of the realms of possibility according to the film makers) of the flamboyant and often stark naked Geoffrey Chaucer by Bettany.

This is a simple coming of age story with complications brushed aside for the sake of a good lot of fun with the action of the tournaments thrown in. A Knight's Tale keeps you guessing until just before the end where the story comes to a satisfactory end. The film does tend to drag a bit in the beginning as it leads up to the main action and at more than two hours it is long for a mainstream film of this type.

A light but entertaining film of youth and adventure. Quite a lot of fun though perhaps a touch long….though bear with it.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2019-09-15

Directed by: Brian Helgeland

Studio: Columbia Pictures

Year: 2001

Length: 132 minutes

Genre: Action/Adventure