This movie was a blockbuster in 2001, and rightly so. Director/writer Brian Hegleland treated us to a tale of jousting tournaments set in mostly France and partly in England in the 14th century, but with a soundtrack featuring upbeat classic rock with artists like Queen, Bachmann Turner Overdrive, and David Bowie. Even though the lead actor was Heath Ledger, whom stole the show in The Dark Knight years later as The Joker, it is the supporting cast that keeps this movie flowing so well. It is pure entertainment that will keep anyone riveted for the duration of the movie. There is no slowing down at all.
At the opening of the film, we see three disheveled squires as they discuss what to do since their aging liege, Sir Ector, has suddenly died from what looks to be a stroke. The knight is due to the jousting ring in a few minutes. William Thatcher (Heath Ledger) decides to take his place, and dons his late liege’s armour. His co-workers, Roland (Mark Addy) and Wat (Alan Tyduk) think this is a very bad idea, since all three squires are peasants, and one has to noble-born to compete. All William has to do is win enough cash, and they can all go back home to England. When William gets to the field, even though he is riding under the name of Sir Ector, he realises that this is the moment he’s been waiting for all his life, and he desires to be a knight more than anything.
After winning the tourney, they split a purse of fifteen silver florins, which William decides then and there will be enough to get them outfitted and train to continue on with the other tourneys across the country. Even though the training goes well, with a few mishaps, much to Roland and Wat’s amusement, they still need to find a way to prove that William is not merely a thatcher’s son from London, but Sir Ulrich von Liechtenstein of Gelderland. Serendipity is about to fall on the squires in the form of a beaten, naked man on a involuntary walkabout, Geoffrey Chaucer (Paul Bettany). Chaucer can write just about anything, including forged Patents of Nobilty. After a successful passing at the lists sign-in, William hires Chaucer as his herald, but this is not the only encounter William has has the city of Rouen today.
When William was a boy, watching the knights file in for a tourney in London, he vowed he would become a knight, and that he was going to change his stars. This is the day when all his star=changing starts. He meets with not only the woman whom he would win as his bride later, Lady Jocelyn (Shannyn Sossamon), a spunky Scottish female progressive-thinking blacksmith, Kate (Laura Fraser), that would become his personal armourer, and a snobbish French knight, Count Adhemar (Rufus Sewell) that means to show the world what William truly is, a nobody from a common part of London. Even more surprises occur, when another knight, Sir Thomas Colville (James Purefoy), turns out to be Edward, the Black Prince of Wales. Although it is illegal to harm a royal, William knows Colville would not knowingly endanger himself if he did not come to compete in the first place.
This story takes us from France, and back to England in flashbacks, then finally to England where William and Adhemar will have their final test, and William’s star will come together. This movie will not only move you, but rock you with its great music. It’s just perfect for a summer get together.
I give this film a Musing review of