A Knight's Tale

Heath Ledger, Shannyn Sossamon, Paul Bettany, Mark Addy, Rufus Sewell

Directed by Brian Helgeland
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
May 11, 2001

Right out of the gate in this fourteenth-century medieval action saga, a jousting match heats up and the crowd roars its approval while lip-syncing to Queen's "We Will Rock You." Holy anachronisms! If using classic rock to screw with chronology doesn't drive you bugfuck (and if it does, God help you at Moulin Rouge), you should lap up this merry mischief from writer-director Brian Helgeland. An Oscar winner for the screenplay for L.A. Confidential and a battle-scarred veteran of tailoring scripts for such star egos as Stallone (Assassins), Costner (The Postman) and Gibson (Conspiracy Theory), Helgeland is working loose, low-budget and star-free this time. Lucky him. Lucky us. Helgeland's 1999 directorial debut, Payback, had him jousting with leading man Gibson. Gibson won. Heath Ledger, the twenty-two-year-old Aussie who plays William Thatcher, the commoner who tries to pass for a knight, isn't a star. Yet. And though Helgeland deploys Ledger's looks and charm to solid effect, he doesn't let him hog the show. Mark Addy and Alan Tudyk score laughs as William's loyal pals. Shannyn Sossamon makes a feisty lady fair. And Paul Bettany gives the film's best performance as Geoff Chaucer, the extroverted writer who warms up the crowd for William against the villain (Rufus Sewell). Rumor hath it that Helgeland picked jousting so he could knock a bully (a metaphorical Mel?) off his high horse. More likely, he's just having fun with the frenzy behind spectator sports through the ages. Either way, you're left with something to chew on. It's a dumb summer movie done with smarts. What'll they think of next.

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories


    Mariah Carey | 1995

    Serendipity stuck when Mariah Carey rediscovered the glitchy Tom Tom Club hook, a sample of which is the heart of this upbeat slice of dance pop. "I had the melody idea for 'Fantasy' and I was listening to the radio and heard 'Genius of Love,' and I hadn't heard it in a long time," Carey said. "It reminded me of growing up and listening to the radio and that feeling the song gave me seemed to go with the melody and basic idea I had for 'Fantasy.' I initially told [co-writer] Dave Hall about the idea, and we did it. We called up the Tom Tom Club and they were really into it."

    More Song Stories entries »