Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
Joel interviews the MIFF team to find out what's in this year's program announcement! Click to listen to our special SWITCHCast ep now.x
review, King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword, King, Arthur:, Legend, Of, The, Sword, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Charlie Hunnam, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen, Jude Law, Eric Bana, Mikael Persbrandt, Annabelle Wallis, Tom Wu, David Beckham, Guy Ritchie, Action, Adventure, Drama film rating




By Charlie David Page
14th May 2017

There are few timeless tales which have lasted the ages and persevered into the 21st century. There are fairytales - Jack and the Beanstalk and Beauty and the Beast are believed to be some of the oldest - biblical stories, from Adam and Eve to Noah to Jesus, and there are fables of great leaders. They're all based in reality, but over the centuries, the stories have changed and evolved from their origins. Now, one of the greatest legends of them all - that of King Arthur - has once again been brought to the big screen... but how does the folklore bear against 15 centuries of Chinese whispers, compression to 126 minutes of screen time, and an adaptation to appeal to the short attention spans of the modern era?

The story begins with the downfall of King Uther (Eric Bana, 'Lone Survivor', 'Munich') at the hand of his brother, Vortigern (Jude Law, TV’s ‘The Young Pope’, ’Dom Hemingway’, ’Anna Karenina’), and his young son Arthur fleeing the castle and hiding his true identity. Years later and now a grown man, Arthur is captured by his uncle’s men and subject to a test designed to expose him - pulling the sword Excalibur from a stone. He succeeds, escapes Vortigern’s clutches, and inadvertently falls in with a band of men trying to usurp the current king from his throne. Arthur doesn’t desire to pursue his birthright, but is eventually convinced to lead Vortigern’s downfall to avenge his father’s death.


The varying legends of King Arthur differ greatly, from a king glorified by his successes to a subject in a fantastical tale of magic. This version of events largely establishes itself in a realistic world, yet with supernatural touches such as sorcery and mages. This is probably the film's one saving grace, helping to give it a firm grounding, and preventing it from becoming simply ludicrous or laughable.

From the opening scene, it’s clear this is a Guy Richie film, with his fingerprints all over the production. The problem is, we’ve seen his all before, and much more successfully in ‘Sherlock Holmes’ - the stylised violence, the speed ramped editing, the non-linear storytelling, the handheld camerawork. What isn’t stripped from his 2009 detective adaptation is borrowed stylistically from the likes of ‘300’ and ‘Exodus: Gods And Kings’. There’s nothing unique here, and certainly none of the flair or innovation shown in Richie’s ’The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’.

The audience is given little to no reason to connect with this world’s inhabitants. We're thrown amidst a mass of players where we're only briefly introduced to the characters, allowing us no time to develop any attachment to them, and so life or death means nothing - somewhat of a problem with a film concerning itself so substantially with the latter. The story presents no emotional depth, and we’re given such flimsy excuses for motivation of actions with drastic consequences.

Charlie Hunnam as Arthur simply doesn't have the capacity to carry this film on his shoulders.

Yet the film’s greatest disappointment lies in its casting. Charlie Hunnam (’Crimson Peak’, ’Pacific Rim’, TV’s ’Sons Of Anarchy’) as Arthur simply doesn't have the capacity to carry this film on his shoulders. He’s been cast for his looks rather than his ability, and either wanders aimlessly or flounders through most scenes. Arthur’s hesitance to take back the throne plays instead as indifference, and his command of others in his troupe is anything but regal - he’s frequently told what to do, and his orders are often ignored.

In fact, nobody here stands out in the film particularly; Jude Law has the strongest presence by default, and that’s from simply by smouldering and pouring his way through the film. Djimon Hounsou ('Guardians of the Galaxy', 'Gladiator') and Aidan Gillen (TV's 'Game Of Thrones' & 'The Wire') do their best with limited roles, but fall victim to a screenplay trying to cover a procession of characters and leapfrogging plot points in just over two hours. Nobody is helped by the mismatching language and retch-inducing dialog, which is thankfully kept to a minimum between fight sequences.

The truth is, even the battles are unimpressive, with army and crowd shots coming across as blatantly computer generated, and the close-up work remarkably disorienting. The camera constantly circles the combat, zooming in and out on special effects and slo-mo moments, never dwelling for more than half a second on any one subject. There’s no consequence or scope, so every killing ends up feeling like yet another tally for the body count.

For those interested on a bloodbath with a vague rationale, ‘King Arthur’ will have its audience. If you go in expecting a substantial look at the legendary leader, you are likely to be disappointed. Guy Richie’s signature techniques have been far better utilised in the past, when he had a better balance of style and substance. If anything, this film is a disservice to the tale which has endured for centuries.

RELEASE DATE: 18/05/2017
RUN TIME: 2h 6m
CAST: Charlie Hunnam
Astrid Bergès-Frisbey
Djimon Hounsou
Aidan Gillen
Jude Law
Eric Bana
Mikael Persbrandt
Annabelle Wallis
Tom Wu
David Beckham
DIRECTOR: Guy Ritchie
WRITERS: Joby Harold
Guy Ritchie
Lionel Wigram
PRODUCERS: Steve Clark-Hall
Akiva Goldsman
Joby Harold
Guy Ritchie
Lionel Wigram
Tory Tunnell
Cosmic Sin - A film that delivers on the promise of its title
TRENDINGCOSMIC SINA film that delivers on the promise of its title
Pocahontas - 25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
TRENDINGPOCAHONTAS25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
Who the hell is Bloodshot? - A primer on Vin Diesel's superhero
TRENDINGWHO THE HELL IS BLOODSHOT?A primer on Vin Diesel's superhero
Revisiting 'Dark City' 20 years later - The most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
TRENDINGREVISITING 'DARK CITY' 20 YEARS LATERThe most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
Gallipoli - A powerful and important film remembered
TRENDINGGALLIPOLIA powerful and important film remembered
The World at War - The landmark documentary series restored in high definition
TRENDINGTHE WORLD AT WARThe landmark documentary series restored in high definition
Malila: The Farewell Flower - Contemplating love and loss
Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two - New villains, same problems
Buckley's Chance - Not worth a chance
Calm with Horses - A savage and sensitive Irish crime drama
TRENDINGCALM WITH HORSESA savage and sensitive Irish crime drama
Shiva Baby - A comedy of discomfort
TRENDINGSHIVA BABYA comedy of discomfort
The Glass Room - Stunning yet soulless
TRENDINGTHE GLASS ROOMStunning yet soulless
Some Kind of Heaven - A bizarre lens into a Floridian retirement village
TRENDINGSOME KIND OF HEAVENA bizarre lens into a Floridian retirement village
25 Free-to-Watch Short Horror Films - The scariest shorts we uncovered online
TRENDING25 FREE-TO-WATCH SHORT HORROR FILMSThe scariest shorts we uncovered online
The Swallows of Kabul - Unflinching and gorgeously animated
TRENDINGTHE SWALLOWS OF KABULUnflinching and gorgeously animated
Cerulean Blue - Promising debut for a new voice in Australian cinema
TRENDINGCERULEAN BLUEPromising debut for a new voice in Australian cinema
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
2:22 - Mind-bending metaphysical mumbo-jumbo
TRENDING2:22Mind-bending metaphysical mumbo-jumbo
Birds of Prey - I'm here to report a terrible crime: DC has saved cinema
TRENDINGBIRDS OF PREYI'm here to report a terrible crime: DC has saved cinema
La Dolce Vita - Not as sweet as you'd think 60 years on
TRENDINGLA DOLCE VITANot as sweet as you'd think 60 years on
© 2011 - 2021 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us!