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Overall Rating
3.6

Awesome36.79%
Worth A Look: 26.42%
Just Average: 13.99%
Pretty Crappy: 5.7%
Sucks: 17.1%

8 reviews, 145 user ratings



Knight's Tale, A
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by EricDSnider

"Geoffrey Chaucer is naked in this movie. What else needs to be said?"
4 stars

"A Knight's Tale" does waste time later, but not in its exposition. Within the first 20 minutes, a Middle Ages squire named William (Heath Ledger) has taken his dead master's place on horseback to win a jousting tournament, then, after a flukish victory, gone into training to become a legitimate competitor.

No agonizing over his lowly station in life and a desire to rise above it. No secret longings to be a jouster. No ethical dilemma when his master keels over mid-tournament and he's faced with the opportunity to put on the identity-masking armor and take over for him. The movie knows we've seen films about underdogs before, so we know the routine. Why waste time pretending the outcome is going to be something other than what it is?

It's a swell attitude, and a swell movie, really, that combines modern sensibilities (and a little slang) with medievel sports and culture. In the first jousting sequence, Queen's "We Will Rock You" is heard, just as in 20th-century sports arenas. It's not just on the soundtrack, though: The spectators are singing along with it. No explanation is given as to how the audience knows a song that won't be recorded for another 600 years, or how they're hearing it with no P.A. system available. Nor should movie-goers care. A historical yarn spun with now-current ideas is gimmicky, yes, but "A Knight's Tale" doesn't seem like a gimmick movie. You just go with it, and you have fun.

William's obstacle in jousting is the fact that only nobles are allowed to compete, and he's a low-life. So he adopts the name Sir Ulrich von Lichtenstein and fools everyone with a fake pedigree drawn up by none other than writer Geoffrey Chaucer (Paul Bettany), a gambling addict whom we first meet as he walks buck-naked down a country road, having lost all his clothes to his creditors.

William's co-conspirators are his old pals Wat (Alan Tudyk) and Roland (Mark Addy). They're all in this for the money, while William apparently has loftier goals that we don't learn about until quite late in the film: He wants to find his father and embrace his ghetto roots and Just Be Himself.

There is the requisite noble maid, Jocelyn (Shannyn Sossamon), whom William seeks to woo despite her having the most ridiculous hair of the Middle Ages. There is also the requisite French git, Count Adhemar (Rufus Sewell), who also seeks to woo Jocelyn and who naturally is also the reigning jousting champion, which means William has to defeat him both at love and in athletic competition. There's also the requisite spat William and Jocelyn have, which literally comes unprovoked and goes away just as easily; it really seems to be in the movie just to make sure all the standard bases are covered.

But predictability is not a liability here. Re-using old sports-movie cliches in an ancient setting was done with a straight face in "Gladiator," but with tongue in cheek here. (It cannot be unintentional that Rufus Sewell looks and acts a great deal like Joaquin Phoenix, and that his character serves the same function here as did Phoenix's in "Gladiator.") Director/writer Brian Helgeland knows we've seen all this stuff before, and that just makes it more enjoyable. Criticizing the film for being predictable would be missing the point.

(In one nice moment, Jocelyn observes William's exploits on the jousting field and notices all his fine attributes -- mercy, strength, bravery, etc. -- and sums them up immediately. No danger of the audience missing the subtle characterizations when they're being spelled out for us.)

The film has a great soundtrack (by definition, any film featuring War's "Low Rider" is automatically a great soundtrack), which helps a lot. There are fine performances from the male leads; the women, such as they are, do not do much. I like Geoffrey Chaucer's character especially, acting as William's mouthy promoter ("We walk in the garden of his turbulence!" he boasts to an eager audience, with no explanation what the hell that means.)

I mentioned earlier that the film does waste time eventually. It does that with the father subplot, which is rather unnecessary and especially unconvincing. There's also a lengthy flashback to William's childhood, which serve the same dubious purpose of establishing Williams' low-born heritage and proud dreams.

When it keeps to the point, however, the film is quite fun indeed -- a classic example of being mindlessly entertaining without being stupid.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=4627&reviewer=247
originally posted: 05/13/01 00:30:07
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User Comments

12/20/08 Valerie Very entertaining, and doesn't try to be something its not. 5 stars
10/07/08 Shaun Wallner This film is hilarious!! 5 stars
9/22/08 PAUL SHORTT PULSES WITH CHARM AND AN IRRESISTIBLE YOUTHFUL ENERGY 3 stars
6/17/08 sugar I thoought the movie was Boring...i nearly fell asleep watching it 1 stars
8/10/07 Hello Stranger alot of anachronisms. sometimes it crap, sometimes its good. ledger is a great actor here 3 stars
7/21/07 gr117 If loving this movie is wrong, then I don't want to be right. 5 stars
3/27/07 samantha great movie! Heath Ledger looks his hottest in this movie! 5 stars
1/07/07 Nagendran Not Historical. But Entertaining. 4 stars
12/15/06 Michele fun 5 stars
11/21/06 georgia what a lot of rubbish you switch to sky1 watch it for 2 seconds and your bored and in a bad 1 stars
11/12/06 bond, james bond sucks and them some- you have to see some guy's ass 1 stars
10/13/06 hbk the funniest medieval film ever.And there's a good story line as well i'm glad it works out 5 stars
10/09/06 India insultingly, juvenile. queen in the 14th century? 1 stars
9/27/06 Edward Shandis I'm still lost. This movie makes no sense and the actors suck!!! 1 stars
8/19/06 Beau very comical storyline that turns into an action packed love story, clever combination 4 stars
8/08/06 Dragon The Artist A comlplete abomination& desicration to Queen, the rock band that will rock you! 1 stars
7/08/06 Me Lovely film, Heath is incredible. 5 stars
6/15/06 Michele loved it, fun 5 stars
6/02/06 jeanne In what twisted universe is Rufus Sewell the booby prize? The man's scorching hot! 3 stars
4/05/06 Kyah awesome heathe ledger is so hot! 5 stars
9/14/05 Dan Good movie! 5 stars
8/23/05 ES Fun and witty, good action and soundtrack, but not your traditional medieval fare 4 stars
3/12/05 Ronin It's one of these movies where you yawn after 5 minutes and turn it off after 10. DULL 1 stars
2/05/05 R.W. Welch Not sure how you classify this, but it's entertaining enuff,if you don't mind anachronisms. 3 stars
1/15/05 chritzie its a very fantastic movie! i like it very much... and its very romantic! 5 stars
10/28/04 ODH I thought this movie was going to suck, but I was pleasantly suprised. 4 stars
8/16/04 Rusty Klichowicz Modern crowd behaviour in mediaeval times... Inspired! 5 stars
8/04/04 Jerlie Baruiz its humurous 4 stars
7/29/04 paolo enea I agrre with the efc, it's a great movie 5 stars
4/27/04 Manny Very funny with much historic accuracy. When it is not accurate, it is obvious and funny. 4 stars
3/28/04 Margie it's a fun movie... and if you thought Chaucer was boring, this might lighten your view 4 stars
3/27/04 The More You Know Nobody wins when 2 losers + 2 hotties vie for the privilege to hold Ledger's jock. 1 stars
2/26/04 john i loved this movie 5 stars
1/27/04 joe smith 4 stars
10/07/03 Ingo Entertainment with a twinkle. 4 stars
9/07/03 Gray good parts and bad parts 3 stars
8/26/03 nick It was the best movie of all 5 stars
7/30/03 Nicole The soundtrack was annoying as hell 2 stars
7/21/03 I Would A boring, contrived and predictable. All complete with a shitty Queen soundtrack. 1 stars
7/16/03 Katie Roberts i don't think i could bare 2 watch it again 2 stars
6/07/03 valeria The film was excelent!! 5 stars
4/06/03 Jack Sommersby Laughabe absurdity. 1 stars
12/11/02 Jamie I loved this movie! It was an interesting twist of the medieval times! 5 stars
12/06/02 Kevin I like how a jousting arena appeared in London 1 stars
11/13/02 Adam The best film ever, I love this comedy 5 stars
7/28/02 Jon Since when were random anachronisms funny? That said, Chaucer was fairly amusing... 2 stars
6/30/02 Smoogles Different and interesting, a step away from the usual sequel/prequel crap 5 stars
6/28/02 Drew A fun film, that's all it is and all it was trying to be 4 stars
6/20/02 Bart Impossible to watch 1 stars
6/05/02 I'm in (L) with a Jedi wats rong wif all u peeps, jesus this woz boring! shanks gracy lionheart, i understand u!!! 1 stars
2/24/02 Peter Anderson Excellent, worth the rent 5 stars
1/26/02 Berat Kosovo Shannyn is too beatiful i like her too much i could not sleep for two days after i saw her. 5 stars
12/26/01 Wreddg Lovin' that film. Yeah yeah, Shannyn Sossamon was so HOTT in that film.. dammn. 5 stars
12/14/01 DJ I loved it. SHANNON SOSSAMON WAS WONDERFUL. 5 stars
11/11/01 Gracy Lionheart Bad acting, script, and music. Ledger's love interest was awful. An all over UGH!!! 1 stars
10/16/01 JesseL Excellent movie. One of the best. Movie Freek is a moron. 5 stars
10/15/01 JD Sweet movie!! 5 stars
10/03/01 Jess This movie was GREAT!!! the actors were well selected and Heath was magnificent!!! 5 stars
10/01/01 The Bomb 69 mindless fun, I couldn't believe it was more than 2 hours long, very entertaining 5 stars
9/28/01 Minh I love Shannyn Sossamon 5 stars
9/28/01 Phoenix A Knight's Tale is so much fun, that you forget it's over 2 hours. 5 stars
9/23/01 Tamsyn Loved it! It made me laugh and feel great...a movie you walk away from feeling happy! 5 stars
9/16/01 Bri Different, amusing, good time. 5 stars
9/10/01 Matthew Bartley More fun you shake a stick at. Chaucer was great! 4 stars
9/03/01 Babybelle Ye olde fashioned film of yore...rock on !! 4 stars
8/27/01 Al I urge you to see this one. 5 stars
7/29/01 Jennifer Gaissert F-U-N 5 stars
7/24/01 ron20003 I couldn't get into it. 1 stars
7/09/01 Anne I don't know why, but I loved it. The acting raised it to great entertainment. 4 stars
6/24/01 Lara Frazier An Excellent Comedy! 5 stars
6/22/01 Barton Fink This film was okay, but mostly was silly and dumb. Hot girls though. 2 stars
6/18/01 Jameson Triplett This movie created a fun new twist to what could have been only a variation on a theme 4 stars
6/18/01 Bob Fun, entertaining, and highly recommended. 4 stars
6/09/01 Anne This film is great! 5 stars
6/08/01 Bill This movie was great and I loved the dance scene. 4 stars
6/06/01 AngieH Unlike "Moulin Rouge" this movie doesn't take itself serously, and it's a lot of fun. 5 stars
6/05/01 bats main review is on-target; I really tried to like it...no dice 2 stars
6/05/01 Muad'Dib Tells you in the first scene not to take it seriously and just have fun. Both are easy. 4 stars
6/04/01 Obi Wan Flick was very entertaining. I went in wanting to hate it, and instead loved it. 4 stars
6/02/01 Why do you need my name i thought the way they mixed the music into the movie made it better 5 stars
6/01/01 Jennifer Heath makes it all happen! 5 stars
5/31/01 Hayley Wells This movie broke all the rules in an awesome fashion! It was superb! 5 stars
5/30/01 Heath Ledger, not aproving of your review Thought the movie was great. It was supposed to be more of a commedy than serious btw Eric 4 stars
5/29/01 Katie I love this movie 5 stars
5/29/01 Kendra It was so good Heath is a really good actor 5 stars
5/29/01 Roy Smith Telegraphs better than Western Union, no suprises at all! 3 stars
5/28/01 Mike Montemayor This isn't a bad film, if you can get over the extraordinarily clean peasants. 4 stars
5/28/01 Denise Dionisio It was cute 4 stars
5/28/01 thefirkin Never listen to newspaper critics! Don't look for an oscar! THIS IS ENTERTAINMENT ONLY!! 5 stars
5/28/01 Edward Shandis ok, I saw it again with the ol' lady. It REALLY SUCKED this time. 1 stars
5/28/01 Kathy Although it's a bit corny at times (i.e. dance sequence), it's a cute movie worth seeing. 4 stars
5/27/01 steverino Lighten Up, and Enjoy it 4 stars
5/27/01 Alaman Fun movie. Go see it... 5 stars
5/26/01 katie this movie was so amazing, i really enjoyed it 5 stars
5/25/01 Kristi J Smith Wonderful, Entertaining, THIS MOVIE ROCKS!!! 5 stars
5/25/01 S What the hell! I am i missing something? i think this movie was great. 5 stars
5/25/01 Serena Witzke really good for what it is 5 stars
5/24/01 SlamRipley I don't know what the script writers were smoking, but I want some!!! 2 stars
5/24/01 Edward Shandis what in the hell happened back then? 2 stars
5/24/01 Jason Either have a comedy or a drama, don't try to mix the two; these guys aren't Chris Farley. 3 stars
5/24/01 Noelle This is a great film. It's unusual but that is what makes it fun. 5 stars
5/24/01 Brandon Herberger Could not stand this film 1 stars
5/23/01 Courtney Maxwell It ROCKS!!! Best movie ever!!!!!!!! 5 stars
5/23/01 bluebeena Very disappointing... great for teeny boppers... 2 stars
5/23/01 malcolm good action, mix of music and medieval culture was hilarious, awesome ending 3 stars
5/22/01 Robynn A movie to go and have fun at, a few bits of dialogue made me cringe. 4 stars
5/22/01 Chris Shannyn Sossamon is sooooo damn fine...thats all i gotta say 5 stars
5/20/01 Kassandra This movie was very entertaining and heath ledger was gorgeous 5 stars
5/20/01 Lara This movie kicks ass! 5 stars
5/19/01 Murf Jocelyn was extremely hot! 5 stars
5/18/01 Barry Moyerman great movie, lots of fun for all 5 stars
5/18/01 Xalt Interesting, and very fun. The mingling of past and present was skillful and exciting. 4 stars
5/18/01 lorraine much more fun than I expected 4 stars
5/17/01 Graca excellent 5 stars
5/17/01 Matti Dwyer Awesome! The best movie I've seen lately! 5 stars
5/15/01 Thomas Albert Could have more detail and better dialogue but otherwise it was an epic in the making! 5 stars
5/15/01 Laura Fun and Whimsical! I loved the contemporary themes and music...it's just a movie! 5 stars
5/15/01 Kirsten One of the most visually uninteresting movies. Predictable, overly sentimental. Yuck. 2 stars
5/15/01 Rampage much better than Man in the Iron Mask and Mask of Zorro 4 stars
5/14/01 Krystal I smiled most of the time...did get quite long though 4 stars
5/14/01 Obisidianbear Very good Movie, and the girls love it. :P 4 stars
5/14/01 arvind comedy,drama,history,romance,emotion.all 3 stars
5/14/01 Kymbric Less historically accurate than a Disney film -- but charming and funny! 4 stars
5/14/01 Kirsten I loved it 5 stars
5/14/01 Aubie LOTS OF FUN!!! GREAT SOUNDTRACK!!! 5 stars
5/14/01 Julia I loved this movie. Great music and Great FUN! 5 stars
5/14/01 Airborne_Dan A good time, and a fun film. Relax and Enjoy..... 4 stars
5/13/01 Aaron Hanson I love historical flicks, especially the Middle Ages, thats just me, of course 5 stars
5/13/01 nang the best ever 5 stars
5/13/01 Stephanie I am glad to see some thin different than the same old midevil movies, i loved the music!! 5 stars
5/13/01 Out for fun I had a great time watching this flick. 5 stars
5/13/01 Sheila Collins awesome... although so far from reality, it doesn't even count. 5 stars
5/12/01 Johnny Kicks fucking ass!!! 5 stars
5/12/01 Jon Westrm Not worth the time or money. 1 stars
5/12/01 rlvj DO NOT LEAVE until after the theater cleaners have left! 4 stars
5/11/01 Chris A fun, light-hearted movie - Some great laughs! 5 stars
5/11/01 Kathleen Williams Funny! Definitely worth the $7 to go see! Not much these days is!!! 4 stars
5/11/01 Jake A Knugget's Tale made my root canal look like a fun time. Awful movie... 1 stars
5/11/01 Intestinal Discomfort This movie gave me painful gas cramps. It sucks big beefy balls. 1 stars
5/11/01 Todd Worse than Hitler 1 stars
5/09/01 nanny wow dont miss it 5 stars
5/09/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) The best part of this cinematic experience was sampling Cherry Mountain Dew. 2 stars
5/08/01 Katie This movie is the best movie I've seen all year!!!l 5 stars
5/06/01 Loretta Fischer I left with a grin on my face. 2 stars
5/05/01 Boyd Possin I was magnificently entertained--and I see a LOT of movies! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  11-May-2001 (PG-13)
  DVD: 27-Sep-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  23-Aug-2001




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