So here I am — at home, alone, with a few hours to kill before bed.
I have two options.
This is it, guys.
Today’s the day.
I’m gonna sit down and watch Tarkovsky’s Solaris.
I’ve put it off for years, but you know wha
I’m going to watch Solaris. Just look at the praise.
* * *
Today is the day I watch Solaris.
* * *
So here I am — at home, alone, watching 2004’s King Arthur. If you’ve never seen it, Antoine Fuquar’s film is a gritty, realistic, violent reimagining of the tale that strips away the myth, relying instead on historical evidence to show what really happened.
It’s a story of war, of corruption, amid the clash of imperial and indigenous forces.
Really though. This is a dirty, bloody interpretation of Arthurian legend. Here are some shots from the opening battle scene, intercut with a set of general rules the film follows to achieve its unique level of realism:
1. Everyone is plastered with faeces
2. Everyone is wearing animal skins
3. Everyone is always running
5. Everyone is always shouting
6. Most things are on fire
7. Everyone has a beard
And finally — no doubt you’ve noticed — the whole thing is a wonderful blue-green.
All this and more make King Arthur worthy of a 15 certificate.
OK, fair enough — we’ve seen some pretty strong battle violence.
But mild sex…?
What does that mean?
With a jumper on?
Let’s just see what the film has to say for itself…
There’s only one ‘sex scene’ in King Arthur. The eponymous knight saves Keira Knightley’s Guinevere from starvation and torture in a walled-up dungeon. She sticks with the band of merry men (wait, that’s Robin Hood…) until she can move again, upon which point she enters Arthur’s tent for a quick, casual, realistic fudge.
Maybe mild means casual. Maybe it means friendly.
Maybe it means malty.
We know King Arthur likes his sex mild. So there we are, in his dark tent, fudging around and feeling each others’ scars and whatnot.
Careful — this Ovaltine’s getting a little too steamy.
Quick! Somebody interrupt!
* * *
Now, in a film that’s ostensibly 136 minutes of hedgerow, you’ll find yourself numbed simply by the fact that you’re still alive. Yet there’s one point, late in the movie, where something happens that’s so weird you’ll probably stand up.
We’ve seen how King Arthur warrants its age certificate; we’ve seen the glaring disparity between levels of violence and sexuality.
Then there’s the rape joke.
Our team of gallant shitfaces stand off against a massive army. Man and woman ready themselves side by side. They draw their enemy into battle atop a frozen lake.
This is weird…
Ioan Gruffudd’s Lancelot says some words in a not meaningless order. He seems to be warning Guinevere to look out for herself.
Ho, SNAP! Guinevere throws it right back at him!
* * *
This is the point where most people in the cinema laugh.
This is the point where I look at my friend.