“The Green Knight” (A24)

Dev Patel stars in a scene from the film "The Green Knight." The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. (CNS/courtesy A24 Films)

By Catholic News Service

Viewers anxious to immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the Middle Ages will revel in writer-director David Lowery’s artful adaptation of the 14th-century romance “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” in which the former (Dev Patel), King Arthur’s (Sean Harris) nephew, is honor bound by the terms of a challenge he bravely took up from the latter (Ralph Ineson), a giant tree-like creature, to travel to the monster’s remote lair, an epic journey with a potentially fatal outcome.

Those on the lookout for a fast pace and a straightforward message, by contrast, may come away from the film less satisfied. Along with other, more discreet, scenes of bedroom intimacy, an interlude during which the warrior is tempted to violate the hospitality of a wealthy lord (Joel Edgerton) by giving in to the seductive wiles of the aristocrat’s wife (Alicia Vikander) is sufficiently explicit to exclude youthful moviegoers from the enjoyment of Lowery’s skillful direction and Andrew Droz Palermo’s consistently evocative cinematography.

Occasional violence with some gore, occult themes, semi-graphic adulterous activity, glimpses of nudity, a fleeting but sordid sexual image, scenes of sensuality. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

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