A Knight's Tale

If you are a purist of medieval history and tales, then don't read this review any further, and definitely don't see the movie. Now, if you like a good flick filled with drama, action, a love story, and a 70's soundtrack, this is the movie for you. Imagine the setting is 15th Century Europe; there is a jousting match, and the spectators are jamming to Queen's "We Will Rock You" and doing the wave. If you find this entertaining then the rest of the film will be just as good. "A Knight's Tale" is about William Thatcher (Heath Ledger), a squire who assumes his dead master's identity in order to compete in a jousting tournament. However, his cohorts Roland and Watt (Mark Addy and Alan Tudyk) remind him that "you have to be of noble birth to compete" but reluctantly agree to go along with the scam. On the way to the competition they meet a naked, dirty man who introduces himself as Geoff Chaucer (Paul Bettany) and offers to forge William's credentials in exchange for food and clothing.

William competes and wins at the tournament but a beautiful nobleman's daughter; Joselyn (Shannyn Sossamon) wins his heart. Of course standing in the way is upper-class suitor and nemesis Count Adhemar (Rufus Sewell) who suspects that William, who has assumed the name Ulrich Von Lichtenstien, is not as noble as he seems. Adhemar chides William's that his armor is ill fitting and old, which leads him to seek the services of female blacksmith Kate (Laura Fraser) who offers to custom design a suit of armor in return for passage to Paris.

The jousting sequences are riveting as they are shot from many different angles and get up close and personal. You get to see the lances splintering, the knights falling back, and the dust flying...you'll find yourself saying, "Ouch, that had to hurt." The movie has a silliness to it, almost Monty Pythonesque but there is a high entertainment value in this film.

Now, there are a few things about the movie that could have been better. For one, the supporting characters could have been a bit more developed. Rufus Sewell should have been more loathsome as Ledger's rival. He merely acted as a jealous boyfriend and not as the warmongering field officer to the Black Prince of Wales (James Purefoy) that he is purported to be. Although the expected outcome has William getting the girl in the end, I thought that a pairing of William and Kate would have been a better match, as her sharp tongue and fiery spirit matched his better than Joselyn, and for a while the direction of the film hinted that Kate would play a more significant role in the story than just an innovative metal worker.

This movie seems like it is destined to be a cult classic. The music, the action, the storyline and Paul Bettany stealing every scene he's in make this a movie that you are sure to enjoy.

A Czarina's Tale

Billz Movie Worthiness Scale: A

Billz Movie Worthiness Scale Values:

A = movie tickets and popcorn for 2 (about $40)
B = buy the DVD when it comes out ($25)
C = rent it
D = wait for it to be on cable/pay TV
E = wait for it to be on regular TV

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