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King Arthur

Rule your fate. 

Year: 2004 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from King Arthur

For centuries, countless tales have been told of the legend of King Arthur. But the only story you've never heard ... is the true story that inspired the legend.

This latest entry of Arthurian myths into the world of film exploits new information which has had excited cardigan-clad academics scrabbling around in their libraries in recent years and has revolutionised the legend of King Arthur. With the brilliance of producer Jerry Bruckheimer (Pirates of the Caribbean and Black Hawk Down), David Franzoni's thorough script and the token round table, King Arthur certainly does justice to the legends of old.

Half-Roman, half-British Artorius Castus (Owen) commands the remnants of the Knights of the Round Table, known as the Sarmatian knights. This band of courageous warriors believe they have completed their final bloody task for their Roman masters and are looking forward to new lives as free men. However, a final mission is thrown upon them and it is set to be their most dangerous yet…

Arthur and his six remaining knights must travel deep into Woad country to rescue a Roman family of great importance, then extricate themselves from a rather dangerous position involving two thousand axe-wielding Saxons. The fearless Guinivere (Knightley), a rather muddy female warrior, finally makes Arthur open his eyes to his position and the transformation takes place; from resolute Roman to a man who begins to identify with honour and loyalty to a country he had all but forgotten, a character who brings out the true virtues of the mythical King.

Knightley remains entrancing under many layers of ancient British grime combining the qualities of a mythical warrior-queen, something Arthur is not slow to spot. The legendary forbidden love between Lancelot (Gruffudd) and Guinivere does not feature, save for a few furtive glances. Guinivere is undoubtedly Arthur's love, the customary passionate romp before the "final battle" thrown in for good measure. The killing dream-team includes Ray Winstone, whose genial performance as Romano-cockney Bors provides much of the films comedy value.

Exchanging fairytale and magic for an intricate blend of swords, blood and beards, King Arthur moves away from the traditional approach to the legends. Put historical and mythological knowledge aside, sit back and enjoy the crashing of blades and a time-honoured tale of bravery, honour and patriotism.

Chris Lofthouse

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Screenings of this film:

2004/2005 Autumn Term (35mm)
2004/2005 Autumn Term (35mm)