THE GREEN KNIGHT
starring Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander, Joel Edgerton, Ralph Nelson
written for the screen and directed by David Lowery
starring Nicolas Cage, Alex Wolff, Adam Arkin
written and directed by Michael Sarnoski
by Walter Chaw A thing has no value if there is no risk of losing it. A treasure is only that if there are hobbits. If you're a parent and you've done everything right, and everything goes exactly as it should, your children will know the exquisite pain of your death. The story for us all ideally has the tang of misadventure to it and a sad ending full of irony. It is a great fable without a moral, wrought with temptations--though hopefully, when the curtain falls, free of too much regret. The key to navigating the labyrinth of the Rose Poet's medieval romance "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" is perhaps in its prologue, where it presents the history of the founding of England from the Fall of Troy through to Aeneas's further stories: his conquests and foundings, sure, but also the inevitable decline of his line. A popular version of this history around the time that "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" would have been written holds that Brutus of Troy is the grandson of Aeneas, exiled from Italy because, in fulfillment of a prophecy similar to the one that doomed Oedipus, he accidentally killed his father with an errant arrow. In the course of his wanderings, this Brute, the product of a cursed line beset with hubris and tragic folly, becomes the first king of what would be called England.