“A Knight’s Tale”
There are some films that I completely forget about the existence of for years on end. And when you find them again and re-watch it you’re either filled with a warm sense of nostalgia as you relieve something you’d almost forgotten about. Or you’re left massively disappointed by the film you once loved not living up to expectations. This is a bit of both.
A Knight’s Tale is a medieval action/romance/comedy that follows the story of William Thatcher (Heath Ledger). He’s a servant to a knight who is killed in a jousting tournament. William, desperate for glory, invents the identity of Ulrich Von Lichtenstein and competes in jousting tournaments across Europe aided by his trusty band of friends.
As a history student I feel as if it is my duty to inform you that this is the most historically inaccurate film that wasn’t made by Mel Gibson. None of what occurs in the film would have been possible in medieval society, everyone speaks and behaves as if it were modern day and none of the historically real characters would have been present at these events.
However, once I managed to forget about all that, I quite enjoyed myself. I remember when I was about ten, I adored this film and I can see why. It has decent action scenes, funny dialogue, a noble protagonist and a truly villainous antagonist. There are also good performances, most notably from Paul Bettany as Geoffrey Chaucer, and a wonderful message that you can be whatever you want to be.
All of these elements eventually save the film from its many shortcomings. The character of William is completely without flaw apart from his lie and that makes him actually quite boring. I also feel the love interest aspect of the film feels shoe-horned in. Some of the dialogue is cringe worthy and the story is complete bollocks to the point where I don’t think the screenwriter got very far past the concept of having a peasant pretending to be a Knight.
Oddly enough all of these things that would ruin any other film almost feel as if they fit in here. A Knight’s Tale is stupid fun if you can switch your brain off and just enjoy it. It also achieves this without assaulting all of your senses and being offensive; I’m looking at you Michael Bay.