The Green Knight

Vampire Owl: I have read about this particular tale during my graduation.

Vampire Bat: It has not been surprising that all vampires learn BA English Language and Literature, and most probably, also its post graduation.

Vampire Owl: Well, vampires do learn more than they need.

Vampire Bat: Yes, almost all the undead has double post graduation.

Vampire Owl: This film still comes as a surprise though.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we were not expecting any more of such movies on Amazon soon.

Vampire Owl: Yes, and with one of those tales from our British Literary History studies.

Vampire Bat: That makes the world feel quite small.

Vampire Owl: Well, you know that is never large enough for a demonic invasion.

Vampire Bat: In that case, there is not enough for the eaters of multiple realms.

[Gets a vegetable puffs and three cups of Vagamon special tea].

What is the movie about? :: The setting is in Camelot, the castle and court of the legendary King Arthur (Sean Harris), who has now turned old, and hopes that someone else could take over his place, someone worthy enough, even though there are many knights of the roundtable who could hold that position to take over the country. It was a long time ago that he taken the sword Excalibur out of stone, and claimed his throne with the help of one great sorcerer – but things are not the same again, as there is a certain amount of darkness that had engulfed the country, which seems to continue through the Christmas season which had just started, as the power of the king is at the all-time low. The king’s nephew, Sir Gawain (Dev Patel) have been leading a life of no knight, even though he is supposed to become one very soon. He goes through all the hedonistic activities as he can, and wakes up in a brothel alongside a common woman whom he fell in love with, despite having royal blood running through his veins.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Gawain gets the scolding from his mother due to the same reason, but on one Christmas day, he attends the feast at the great round table of the knights with King Arthur, who gives him a better status, as he is the son of his sister, and a possible choice for the throne at some point of time. It is then that a strange creature in armour, riding a horse comes into the court and talks of a game. Calling itself the Green Knight, the creature tells him that any knight in the court can land a blow on his body and win his green axe, but the same person will have to come to the Green Chapel on the very next Christmas dar, and he will have to receive the exact same kind of blow in return. When the fight begins, the Green Knight gives up, and Gawain comes with a blow so hard that it severs the knight’s head. Then the knight rises and leaves with his severed head, after reminding him of the deal.

And what more is to be done with this adventure related to one green knight? :: Gawain spends the rest of the year merry-making with his common woman love, Essel (Alicia Vikander), but his mother Morgan le Fay (Sarita Choudhury) knows that he has to keep his end of the bargain and face the Green Knight at some point. So, finally when the next year’s Christmas season arrive, he starts his journey towards what seems to be his destiny. During his journey, he comes across a battlefield with dead bodies everywhere, and is ambushed by a group of people who ties him up and steals anything on him that seems valuable. But Gawain manages to get free and go after them. But random robbers on the road won’t be the major problems that he will have to face during this quest. This quest is woven out of magic, and it won’t end like a usual adventure ends for a knight who comes up with random acts of courage and honour. After all, these are the times when knights are always supposed to do better than earlier.

The defence of The Green Knight :: The movie maintains its dark elements really well instead of turning this into a light fantasy as one would expect as far as King Arthur and the related stories are concerned. The dark atmosphere does help in transporting us to an uncertain world of mystery rather than the usual space of certain heroes and villains placed on opposite sides. The setting, especially the landscape is incredibly beautiful, and the same can be said about the buildings around too, as the feeling of a medieval world is nicely recreated – the touch of magic can also be felt in between. One wouldn’t agree if there is a talk about this world not being filled with magic. The background music also adds a lot to this particular world. It had to be so, as any tale related to King Arthur has that feeling in the background. The film works as the coming of age story of a knight, which is nicely portrayed by Dev Patel in what might be among his best roles till now. The rest of the characters are just the path for him towards the final destination.

The claws of flaw :: The Green Knight, as it moves away from the usual fantasy adventure with a knight trying to meet his destiny, the darker side is added, and the same might not be what people might be looking for. The film also drags in between, as we have a certain time period in which nothing much happens, and the same could have been trimmed to make this film shorter. One can feel that there are too many dialogues here, and some of them seem to be pointless – they could have been replaced by some more of action, which is rather difficult to come by in the middle stages. The final moments are also not that strong as one would have expected in the beginning stages. The messages here could have also been clearer, and some elements of coming of age might have looked better if used in a more innovative manner. The opportunities to add more to the tale and expand the same have been many, and here we see no strengthening additions.

How it finishes :: Making a film out of a chivalric romance work of unknown authorship, written in the late fourteenth century, and make it suitable for this age is no easy task, as the same is not a huge adventure with big monsters that appeal to the big screen and the masses. I do remember reading about this work as part of my studies as well as the later teaching process at the college. Well, British Literary History is quite fascinating, and these are some of the earlier works which we go through in the syllabus after that Anglo-Saxon literature being looked at. So, this work is more or less like nostalgia for me. Even if the question papers in this part of the world do not really ask any question related to this one, we are all aware of the tale’s worth, and the same has been reasserted with this film, that seems to have done justice with the original thing. This is certainly not your usual fantasy adventure, and as long as you can look past the same, this will work really well for you.

Release date: 24th September 2021 (Amazon), 27th August 20201 (India)
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: David Lowery
Starring: Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander, Joel Edgerton, Sarita Choudhury, Sean Harris, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Erin Kellyman, Barry Keoghan, Atheena Frizzell, Nita Mishra, Tara McDonagh, Helena Browne, Megan Tiernan, Emmet O’Brien

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

<— Click here to go to the previous English film review here.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Shershaah

What is the movie about? :: Vikram Batra (Sidharth Malhotra) had always wanted to be part of the military force, and achieves the same dream many years after he started thinking about the same. He has been someone who remained strong from childhood itself. He gets assigned to keeping an eye on the terrorist activities in the border area of Jammu and Kashmir area. Things seem safe and under control when he goes there, but as expected, there is always more than what meets the eye as far going close to the borders is concerned. They come against the first group of terrorists quick enough, and Vikram is blamed for not following the orders by Captain Sanjeev Jamwal (Shiv Pandit), even though everything ends perfectly. But Sanjeev still thanks him for saving his life in the process and making sure that the fight ended with them on the winning side, with no casualties at all – they end up being very good friends.

So, what happens with the events here? :: At the same time, there is something more terrifying going on in the background, with acts of terrorism ready to come across the border, and part of it also having roots already. At the same time, there is a flashback of the soldier’s life when he was at his earlier ages. While studying in Punjab University, he had fallen in love with Dimple Cheema (Kiara Advani), who hadn’t noticed him earlier, but had later gone to become his fiance. She had managed to get approval from her father only by telling him that if she won’t get to marry him, she will never marry anyone in her life. He also feels that he should join merchant navy instead of army to get a better salary so that he can get Dimple’s father to agree, but moves back on the same because his dream still drives him forward. She decides to wait for him, as he goes to be part of the army, and she would make sure that there are no more possible alliances being discussed at home.

And what more is to follow around here? :: Back at the camp, there seems to be many battles going on, and not just the small infiltration by the small scale terrorists. Vikram is quick to establish himself as a skilled soldier, and he is also good friends with the local people of Kashmir, due to which some people agree to become informers for him. He is also in charge of some risky operations in the process. There is also a bigger battle in store, as the Kargil War is about the begin. Despite being able to go back home on leave, Vikram has to return very soon, and join his team. Vikram is not someone who would stand back, and it seems that the enemy is crossing all limits, forcing them to quicken their actions. It would be a war which was to decide the future concerning two nations, as well as Kashmir, and the question remains about what is to follow in this for Vikram, as people back at home continue to worry. And then, there are more tales to come.

The defence of Shershah :: When we have war tributes in here, there was always something for us to watch, and this one also stays close to that idea. We also need acts of bravery to keep our world intact. There are some fine actions here which will be remembered, and are going to stay in our memory for the best. The combat scenes are all good, and there is something for our patriotic hearts, which stay on after the film ends too. The emotional side also remains strong, and we feel as part of the moments which the soldiers live through. It is always nice to have good movies dealing with the characters and subject. There are also some visuals of the world around them which never ceases to show the beauty of Kashmir. Along with the same, there is also the war during which the newer generation needs a reminder because even we were too young during the situation in Kargil, or were not born yet – we do get a reminder. You are always happy, and often in bliss to get the same in the name of the country.

The claws of flaw :: When we consider this movie as a work about a war hero, it could have been much more, with better elements of realism having scope to be present. After all, we have had many war movies before, not just in Bollywood, but also in Hollywood, even those works which were awarded well nationally and internationally. The background story, especially the love story remains too weak, and the same adds as an unnecessary part to an otherwise straightforward story of bravery in the border. Focusing on the romantic angle with songs never get old, and as far as love and songs being inserted somewhere when it should be kept at minimum, there is nobody in the whole world matching Bollywood. We do have the predictable moments in here too, and the film chooses not to go for innovation, going through the safe paths rather than anything else. The dramatic moments could also make way for more realistic style in comparison. There were immense possibilities regarding the same too, and there are moments which remind us of the same.

Performers of the soul :: Sidharth Malhotra handles things right, and he has blended into this role quite well too. This is a different kind of role compared to the type of roles in which I had seen him before. He looks very good in this role, and he is even more than that. In the scenes of war, he does the best, and he gets to be inspirational in the display. Kiara Advani is pretty good in what she does, but the love story is rather weak, and not that much suitable in the totality of the scheme of things. She could have got a better role if it was the college time period being shown with less focus on the romantic side, but romance always comes out of somewhere in these films, and that will continue to be the greatest cliché of all time. The other performers are also good, but they don’t really get that much to do. Shiv Pandit is the one who gets our attention the best among them, and there are a few more actors playing the soldiers that have something in here.

How it finishes :: It is always good to provide some tributes to the war heroes, and in doing the same, Shershaah does succeed. The movie still didn’t have that much of a promotion as Toofaan had in this part of India, and that is a shame, because the film should have released with more people knowing about its presence on Amazon Prime Video, the OTT platform which most people uses around here. Still, they would sooner or later understand that this is an interesting, as well as entertaining war drama. There is also a strong emotional side to the same. Being a tribute to the brave soldier who was awarded with the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest military decoration, the great award for valour, for his actions during the 1999 Kargil War, the film has those perfect moments which will work for the patriot among us. You can never have enough of films on our soldiers, and we pay our respect to the man of valour. Therefore, we watch this movie on Amazon Prime Video, and stay safe from COVID-19 for now. Happy Independence Day and Happy Onam in advance.

Release date: 12th August 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 134 minutes
Directed by: Vishnuvardhan
Starring: Sidharth Malhotra, Kiara Advani, Shiv Pandit, Jaaved Jaaferi, Nikitin Dheer, Himmanshoo A Malhotra, Anil Charanjeett, Shataf Figar, Sahil Vaid, Raj Arun

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

<— Click here to go to the previous Bollywood review.

<— Click here to go to the previous Hollywood review.

<— Click here to go to film reviews from other OTT platforms.

Also, look out for the best of the year so far.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela

What is the movie about? :: Chacko (Lal) and Sheela (Shanthi Krishna) are a couple in the city who are going through their usual days. The former was working at Kuwait until a few years ago, and the latter is a Chemistry professor at the nearby college. While their youngest child Sarah (Ahaana Krishna) lives with them, their eldest child Mary (Srinda Arhaan) lives with her husband Tony (Siju Wilson) nearby. Their only son Kurien (Nivin Pauly) is working at London, and it has been some time since he last visited India. It is during one of these days that Sheela develops a doubt if she has breast cancer. The talk about the same frightens Chacko, who consults his good friend and dentist Varkichan (Dileesh Pothan). The man refers Chacko to a reputed doctor of a famous hospital in Cochin, Saiju (Saiju Kurup) who has cured many patients suffering from cancer. After consulting him and undergoing the tests, they confirm the same, that she does have stage two breast cancer.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It is at the same time that Kurien returns to Cochin for spending a forced break, as Sheela had called and asked him to come as soon as possible without saying any reason. He gets the feeling that she had called him to get him married, as most of the other relatives of his age have been married already, and his siblings also share the same thoughts. The only other reason could be related to their grandfather, but he has been the same for years, and there is absolutely no change regarding his health. Chacko, who is afraid of the disease, struggles to even talk about it to his children – but one day, he manages to let them know the truth after a series of misunderstandings. Everyone in the family is shocked and sad, and are cent percent confused about what to do next. The family which had things going straight without any intermissions, gets a lot of thinking to do after that revelation.

And what else is to follow in the adventure in the land of crabs? :: Kurien’s only relief is his long lost friend Subbu (Krishna Shankar) whom he meets after a long time. Sheela tells her family to support her happily, but everyone remains sad and depressed. They decide to get a home nurse to look after the grandfather as Sheela is not well. Their search for one ends with Yesudas (Sharafudheen) whose conditions are agreed upon. Meanwhile, while taking his mother to one of the chemotherapy sessions, Kurien meets a girl from Bangalore named Raichel (Aishwarya Lekshmi) who had arrived in the hospital with her parents, as her father also had cancer. They become good friends, and Kurien feels very much attracted to her. Meanwhile, Sarah is also in love. Chacko keeps struggling to make himself adjust to the understanding and fear of his wife’s disease. In this newly confused world, the battle between chemo and the crab goes on.

The defence of Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela :: There are two sides to Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela – a humorous one and the emotional one. The humour is there in the movie all the way – the light-hearted side of this flick will make it a much loved title for this Onam season for the families. The emotional side is there, as the family is shaken by the unexpected trouble, and we see how they overcome the same, but never missing out on bringing a little comedy here and there. The balance which has been maintained here without letting the flick stumble into some kind of melodrama, is a remarkable achievement. The use of the right cast also makes sure that things work better. The movie leaves us with the message that it is the unexpected twist in life that makes us stronger, and it is the difficulties that makes us capable of more – positivity added there when the trap of hopelessness is present. Along with the same, it is once again re-iterated that family is that important, and it would come over almost all the other things in life; something that most of the new generation would need to realize at some point.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does take the safe route rather than trying anything special or unexpected. It might be rather too simple for the liking of some people, unlike Adam Joan, the other good movie of the Onam-Eid season which makes sure that it is more like the exact opposite of this movie – like a mirror image which reverses things. Well, we have interesting movies at both sides of the mirror, and it is a positive sign for the Malayalam movie industry. Yet, one wonders why it was so necessary to add a romantic side to this movie which adds nothing more than a little bit of cuteness along with a song – without the same, this one would have finished in less than two hours, and Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela would have had no moment of deviation from its beautiful family stuff. In a world when youth wishes for quick movies, the movie’s dilatoriness will trouble more than one person, but if you relate to the characters well enough, such a problem can vanish into thin air. There could also be people who want some parts of this movie to be more serious; well could have been even more touching for sure.

Performers of the soul :: Nivin Pauly goes through his role comfortably, as the lazy, Lays eating, London-er with more Keralite thoughts than anything else. There is also a little bit of romantic side for him here, but it is once again the family stuff that he gets to handle, and does very well. When the movie is cute, and the hero is Nivin Pauly, I wonder what can stop the family from rushing into the theatres. It has been a long time since we saw Shanthi Krishna, and it is good to see her back, and she remains the strong point of this movie from the beginning to the end. Lal also joins in and makes this role exactly at the right place. Ahaana Krishna’s second role also seems to be a good choice, as she seems to be doing what Aima Rosmy Sebastian has been doing – she has more to do than the heroine, Aishwarya Lekshmi who has a memorable presence, but gets less time on screen. The Aluvaite Premam team has kind of a get together with Siju Wilson, Krishna Shankar and Sharafudheen there, and strengthens the funny side, and so does Srinda.

How it finishes :: You will find Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela from the debutante director Althaf Salim to be a treat for the whole family, even without trying anything huge. It stays close to life and closer to the heart with those simple moments of life, and simpler instances of comedy being nicely woven into the plot. One has to wonder how well Nivin Pauly has been choosing his movies – from those dual releases of Ivide and Premam, it has been such a fantastic journey. The last three movies, Action Hero Biju, Jacobinte Swargarajyam and Sakhavu have been different in core, and all three of them are worth the appreciation. Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela continues that sequences of interesting movies. With the Tamil movie Richie supposed to come up soon, our movie here will raise hope to an even higher level. As of now, there is no void as it has been at certain points of time, and we have enough to enjoy this vacation season. I wish all of my readers a Happy Eid, as well as a Happy Onam in advance! 🙂

PS: Relate the crab to cancer, and there is more than one meaning which you can take from “the land of crabs” in the title.

Release date: 1st September 2017
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Althaf Salim
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Lal, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Ahaana Krishna, Shanthi Krishna, Siju Wilson, Srinda Arhaan, Krishna Shankar, Sharafudheen, Dileesh Pothan, Saiju Kurup, Sidhartha Siva

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.