Frances Winston really enjoyed this Guy Ritchie offering, and feels it doesn’t deserve the harsh criticism it has received from some critics
Directed by: Guy Ritchie – Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen, Jude Law, Eric Bana
Let’s get the David Beckham-sized elephant in the room out of the way. Yes, he makes his acting debut in the flick. No, he is not as talented a thespian as a footballer. And yes, his fake nose looks ridiculous. Obviously cast because he’s friends with the director, he definitely won’t be performing Shakespeare any time soon.
This novelty casting aside (and a rather dodgy cameo from Ritchie himself) the rest of the actors here are all solid, seasoned performers, so don’t let Beckham’s five minutes of screen time put you off.
Pretty much everybody knows the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. But this is a Guy Ritchie film, so as you can imagine it’s somewhat grittier than what you might be used to.
There are no knights and no round table as this is an origin tale, telling how Arthur (Hunnam) came to take the throne. Banished to be raised in a brothel by his evil uncle, Vortigern (Law) he has no idea of his regal connection. But these things have a habit of coming out, and sure enough, his true heritage is exposed. But before he can become King, he will have to overthrow his uncle, and learn to control his famous sword, Excalibur.
Of course, this being an origin tale means there is also no Guinevere, who appears much later in the Arthur mythology, and as such this is an extremely male-centric offering. Think Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels in a medieval setting!
Seemingly this has been savaged by many critics, but I have to say that it is extremely entertaining. It is completely over the top, and doesn’t really adhere to the idea of the noble King Arthur of legend, but Hunnam does a good job portraying him as a cheeky chancer. How that would translate to sequels when he is officially a monarch we’ll never know, as apparently plans for further offerings have been scrapped after a poor performance in some territories.
I find this surprising as it is a decent enough effort. Richie doesn’t really stretch himself by trying any new techniques, but if you liked his previous work you won’t be disappointed.
Brash and flash (my friend actually described it as “noisy” but in a good way) it isn’t trying to be reverential, and clearly just wants to leave the audience with a smile on their face.
Parts of it are extremely silly, but due to the tone of the overall piece they are not glaringly obvious. It is at its heart a good old-fashioned popcorn movie, that doesn’t require too much analysis.
It’s not very deep, and it’s not going to change the world, but it is very enjoyable and a bit of fun, and doesn’t deserve to be taken as seriously as some people seem to have done.
In Cinemas May 19th Previews May 17th and 18th! Trailer below: