FILM REVIEW - KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD
Running Length: 126 minutes
Release Date: 19th May 2017
Directed by: Guy Ritchie
Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou
Story by: David Dobkin, Joby Harold
Cinematography: John Mathieson
``Like an adaption of Beowulf penned by Danny Dyer``
In the course of his career Guy Ritchie has managed to avoid restraint and good taste with a zeal that only Baz Luhrman could match. After wringing every last drop out of the mockney gangster Britflick, Ritchie took his limited palette and bare bones bag of tricks and applied them to any number of other genres, Whether appropriate or not. 60’s spy thriller? Victorian whodunit? Oi oi! Bish bash bosh. Taystee!
Here the legend of King Arthur gets Ritchisized. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is like Game of Thrones set to Blur’s Parklife, or an adaption of Beowulf penned by Danny Dyer.
Ritchie is a competent director and he can certainly handle scale, but he approaches filmmaking like a Dyno-Rod technician unclogging a toilet. Sure it requires a certain aptitude, but nobody wants to watch it. You only need to look at the action (and there’s no avoiding it) to see how rigid and unadaptable his signature style is. Over and over the same “speed up slow down” trick is pulled (if all the slo-mo was cut out then a good 30 minutes could have been paired off the humongous running time) and it gets tired very quickly. Combined with quickfire “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Bodkins” dialogue and a laughably stentorian musical score by Daniel Pemberton and the overall effect is mildly nauseating.
The sheer awfulness of King Arthur is hypnotic. From deep within this tunnel of stupid I fell into a trance-like state; only clinging to sanity by concocting alternative, unprintable names for characters like “Goosefat” Bill, “Mischef” John and (good grief) “Kung Fu” George.
Jude Law does a good turn as the oily villain Vortigern, but as King Arfur: Bellend with a Sword, Charlie Hunnam seems to be in actual physical discomfort while reciting simple lines of dialogue. Singling out an overall loser in a film chock full of appalling performances (stand up Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, Aidan Gillen, Djimon Hounsou) is unfair, but it speaks volumes that David Beckham isn’t the worst thing in it. The blame for this vulgar, expensive monstrosity falls solely on Ritchie.
According to the fount of film knowledge the IMDB there have been in the region of 84 film adaptions of the legend of King Arthur. By my reckoning that would make King Arthur: Legend of the Sword the 85th best adaption of the legend of King Arthur; somewhere behind The Spaceman and King Arthur and slightly less credible than Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
And I haven’t even mentioned the two-fingered pro-Brexit wrap up.