‘A Knight’s Tale:’ Chaotic nature makes film hilarious

'A Knight's Tale:' Chaotic nature makes film hilarious

“A Knight’s Tale” is extremely perplexing; 15th-century knights dancing to David Bowie’s Golden Years is not a sight anyone would expect to see.  Despite this, director Brian Hedgeland was able to perfectly tell the tale of a medieval jousting competition with a refreshing and fun twist you can’t unsee.

The movie begins with the main protagonist, Willam Thatcher (Heath Ledger) and his two sidekicks Roland (Mark Addy) and Wat (Alan Tudyk) on a quest to win jousting competitions in a desperate attempt to gain money.  Here lies one problem, William and his two friends are peasants, and only knights born from four generations of nobles may enter the competition.  Conveniently enters Chaucer (Paul Bettany), a nude squire who promises William a patent of nobility in exchange for clothes and food.  Accepting the offer, the 4 boys ride their way to the Rouen competition.

The group successfully manages to enter the competition with Will pretending to be Ulrich von Liechtenstein of Gelderland.  It should be mentioned that the real Ulrich von Liechtenstein was a German poet and minnesinger of the Middle Ages.  “Ulrich” creates quite a name for himself through his competitions ready to fearlessly jab a 7-foot lance into his opponents.  Through their journey for jousting dominance, the group befriends a female blacksmith, Kate (Laura Fraser), who offers to fix and improve William’s armor as a smug response to her misogynistic male counterparts.  Thatcher also catches the attention of noblewoman, Jocelyn (Shannyn Sossamon), and the two create a strong bond throughout the film, testing the strength of love.

The clever soundtrack used in “A Knight’s Tale” is vital to the movie as it adds a fun and interesting touch to the already quirky story.  This playlist consists of 70s and 80s hits such as “Low Rider” (War) and “The Boys Are Back In Town” (Thin Lizzy).  The incorporation of these songs may seem sporadic and unnecessary, but it actually creates a hilarious juxtaposition between Medieval times and the 70s.  For example, the audience of a 15th-century jousting match banged and clapped their hands to Queen’s “We Will Rock You”, which simultaneously lightens the mood to the potentially deadly jousting match ahead.  Although this addition does get a bit corny at times, it is bound to put a smile on the viewer’s face.

As absurd and lighthearted as the film is, Brian Hedgeland was able to address the difficulty to move up from the social class people are born in.  William was born and raised a peasant.  Historically speaking, it would have been nearly impossible for him to become a knight because of this.  Will was able to overcome these slim odds of becoming a knight and create the life he always dreamed of, even from a young age.  The film often refers to this as “changing your stars”.  Although the movie may be an exaggerated example of the social difficulties in current society, characters like William serve as a reminder that there is no harm done in following your dreams.

“A Knight’s Tale” combines 15th-century history with modern culture which somehow fits together perfectly.  The storyline is a classic good vs. evil plot with a touch of tear-jerking romance and silliness that’s bound to knock you off your feet, or in this case, horse.

Grade: A-