Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *
Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou, Eric Bana, Aiden Gillen, Freddie Fox, Craig McGinlay, Tom Wu, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Neil Maskell, Annabelle Wallis, Geoff Bell, Bleu Landau, Jacqui Ainsley, Georgina Campbell, Rob Knighton, Michael Hadley, David Beckham, Katie McGrath, Peter Ferdinando, Michael McElhatton, Mikael Persbrandt.
Legends come from stories long since handed down and embellished, made uncertain and then allowed to fade into the darkness of our collective memories, such is the fate of us all and without proof, who is to say that you also won’t become a myth.
It is the fate of some legends though to remain in the attention, that the gaze of history allows the spotlight to remain on the, possibly because they are fascinating stories but also because they offer something tangible, something good to hang onto in dark times, that of Hope. It is a hope that has surrounded the Once and Future King and is given maximum attention in Guy Ritchie’s latest cinema outing; King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.
The Guy Ritchie stamp is all over this particular film, it may put many off but in equal terms and for those who revel in the sense of meticulous and individual way of film making, who saw the 21st Century Sherlock films as a beautiful challenge to the authority of the classic story rather than ripping apart at the seams all that made those tales by Arthur C. Doyle so riveting and ingenious in the first place.
The same splurge of admiration should be said of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, there is a place for a re-telling which does not squirm along the same undiluted lines of one of England’s greatest literary heroes; Thomas Mallory, who brought the stories together as he rotted in jail would perhaps have tilted his head in bizarre astonishment that one day someone would make a film called Camelot, or even see it parodied brilliantly by five University graduates, yet some look upon this version as scrapping the barrel, an interpretation nonetheless but it still captures the feeling of the once and future king and brings the language and the attitude completely up to date.
Guy Ritchie might not be everybody’s cup of Earl Gray or Russian Caravan, but he can deliver a story, one that requires attention to detail and a hero worth watching, even a villain of impeccable stature and in that regards Jude Law as the evil and possessed of greed Vortigern is one that certainly lives up to its billing, more damned, ill–fated and like all ill thought of kings of Shakespearean value, one that is destined perfectly for the fall. Jude Law plays this callous and pitiless man in the very best attitudes of Richard III but without the need for sympathy.
Neil Maskell, a man who has already had great acclaim as Arby in the tremendous television series Utopia and various other notable roles, shines perfectly as the reluctant hero’s right hand man Back Lack, a sense of proportion in his role, he calmly holds the scenes he is in with fine precision and great faith in his reading of the character.
A film which only adds to the Arthurian legend, which does not destroy it and yet can, if seen with open eyes, be just as entertaining and demanding as Guy Ritchie’s other films.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is a film of value, one that requires the audience to use the greatest gift bestowed upon them, their imagination, the ability to feel the past and once more take heed that the lessons learned once in dealing with dictators in the islands of Britain will surely be asked of again.
Ian D. Hall