There are some things money can't buy. For everything else, there are the movies. And, King Arthur is one movie that, for a fleeting moment, transports you to the world of Knights and Warriors.
The movie promises to tell you 'The Untold True Story That Inspired The Legend'. And, what a legend it is! From chivalry to the Excalibur sword to the roundtable conferences, legend is replete with stories of the man and his righteousness. Whether the film delivers on its promise is questioning though it does a fantastic job trying.
It is set in the fifth century AD, a time when the Roman Empire stretched from Arabia to Britain. It was also the time when the Empire was surrendering its positions in foreign lands. Arthur (Clive Owen) and his Knights are given one final task before they are given their freedom, a task so unbelievably implausible that only they could pull it off.
The Saxon army is invading the North of Britain, as the Roman troops are withdrawing. Arthur and his Knights have to rescue the Pope's Godson as per wishes of the Roman Bishop. It is just seven men against the entire army - until Guinevere (Keira Knightley) decides to show off her archery prowess, among other things. The ensuing battle scene on cracking ice is breathtaking, and that might be an understatement.
Back at the Roman settlement near the Hadrian's Wall, the Knights and the Pagan Woads engage in fierce combat with the Saxons for their right to self-determination. It was not the Knights' war. But, Arthur's belief in a 'cause beyond even Rome's understanding' could not let them stand down. He believed in freedom as a right of any individual, a concept that had few takers at the time.
The film has all the elements of a historical drama - epic battles, resolute faith and unparalleled courage. Most of all, it is the actors who have enthused a zeal in it completely of their own doing. The visuals are spectacular, but that is something that we have come to expect in a Jerry Bruckheimer production. And, Antoine Fuqua reiterates why he is among the most celebrated directors of today.
Yes, the film has intertwined myth and history. There are references to the Holy Grail, Pagan rituals and Church-sanctioned tortures of non-believers. May be Arthur never had anything to do with any of these but that is beside the point. If you want truth as it happened please visit the secret archives of the Roman Catholic Church in Vatican City.
If you want two hours of entertainment, however, catch this movie.