In A Knight’s Tale Will Thatcher (Heath Ledger) has a problem: the knight he squires has just died, there’s a tournament waiting his arrival and he and the knight’s two servants, Roland and Wat (Mark Addy and Alan Tudyk), haven’t eaten for days. Will knows how to joust but he’s not high-born, a requirement to enter the lists. But if he could disguise himself as a knight and find someone to forge certificates of his lineage, he could maybe get away with it…
Thanks to a chance encounter with a naked Geoffrey Chaucer (Paul Bettany), the forgery is done and soon they’re all on their way to fame and fortune. But Will is smitten by the beautiful Jocelyn (Shannyn Sossamon) while the undefeated champion, Count Adhemar (Rufus Sewell) has both designs on her and doubts about Will’s claims to nobility. At the World Championships in London, love, honour and revenge all come together…
Brian Hegeland, best known as a screenwriter whose credits include L.A. Confidential and Mystic River , directed this medieval tale with his tongue firmly in his cheek: the opening credits see the crowd at the tournament singing along to Queen’s We Will Rock You and doing a Mexican wave; and pedants after anachronisms will have a field day.
But they’d be missing the point; this is a fun film, one that the Python crew would have been proud of with the previously unknown Ledger making his mark as the star although Bettany almost steals it from him. The rest of the cast, from the villainous Sewell to the addled Addy, all look like they had fun making it, the jousting sequences are genuinely thrilling and, of course, good triumphs over evil. Hoorah and pass the popcorn!
UK / 2001
Writer and Director: Brian Hegeland
Cast: Heath Ledger, Rufus Sewell, Shannyn Sossamon, Paul Bettany, Laura Fraser, Mark Addy, Alan Tudyk