Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.
USA/United Kingdom/Ireland, 2004. Touchstone Pictures, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Green Hills Productions, World 2000 Entertainment. Screenplay by David Franzoni. Cinematography by Slawomir Idziak. Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. Music by Hans Zimmer. Production Design by Paul Cross, Dan Weil. Costume Design by Penny Rose. Film Editing by Conrad Buff IV, Jamie Pearson.
For all its claims at historical accuracy, there’s nothing particularly credible in this butt-numbing epic. That said, Braveheart wasn’t that much more successful at reflecting history accurately but at least it was entertaining. In this latest version of the Camelot legend (a prequel to it, actually), Arthur (Clive Owen) is a member of the Sarmatian knights, warriors whose fighting skills so impress the occupying Roman Empire in Britain that they are called into service. When their time of duty (fifteen years) is ended and Arthur believes he can finally lead his men back home, the knights are given one last task, protecting a Roman priest and his family from the oncoming dangers of the invading Saxons, before they are freed from duty. The long journey towards fulfilling this quest and back includes many endless battles, all of which are loud but very few of which make much sense. Along the way the knights meet up with Woads, the British rebels who hate the Romans and whose population includes a plucky bow-and-arrow-wielding lass named Guenevere (Keira Knightley). This “realistic” version of the well-known tale has atrocious dialogue, weak direction and wastes a talented cast. Owen looks bored, Ioan Gruffudd (as Lancelot) seems like he’s just dying to be somewhere else, Ray Winstone as a supporting grunt is probably tired of having to play this cliched character, and Stellan Skarsgård as the Saxon King appears to be made of stone.