Another entertaining jaunt from Richard Bates Jr. King Knight is full of ridiculousness, from the characters to the situations they are placed in. Yet it never forgets the message of finding acceptance in ones past – a comedy that hits all right notes.
What makes a good witch nowadays? A deep sense of spirituality and communion with nature? Devotion to a tight-knit group of like-minded free spirits? A successful Etsy shop and a sick set of Tarot cards? Living the dream alongside his beautiful life partner Willow (Angela Sarafyan), the revered high priest of a modern Californian coven, Thorn (Matthew Gray Gubler) has it all… as well as a secret past that may or may not be as dark as his wardrobe. So, when his beloved uncovers said secret on the night of their Beltane celebrations, Thorn sets out on a soul-searching journey back to his hometown.
Every character in Richard Bates Jr’s film is positively ridiculous, but not to the point of absurd; they seem like people who are just dialled up to 11 from people we all know, sometimes all too well. Yet for all of that, they all play it completely straight, which is vital to the success of the reveal early in the film when we learn what Thorn has been keeping from Willow. If King Knight doesn’t have you from not only the reveal but from Willows and Thorn’s reaction, then this film is lost to you. Unbelievably funny and unexpected, after all this is a film that has characters get jealous over someone saying that Merlin is their favourite wizard. What isn’t there to like about a film like that? The film lives and dies by the writing and performances of this likeable bunch. This is a likeable bunch of characters; they are just a tad weird.
It could have been a very easy choice for Bates Jr could very well have made King Knight and made a total mockery of the Wiccan faith, and it would have still made for a solid comedy. Instead, he embraced it as much as he could and tried to be respectful to it. In fact, for all of the activities the coven get up to, it is people outside of the coven who are horrible, schoolchildren leaving flaming bags of excrement on Thorn and Willows porch, for example.
He merely makes light of situations; for example, there should be a bonfire with the Beltane celebrations. Still, the group are situated in California and the year before that got out of hand. Small things like that are light and harmless, like an episode of Parks and Rec. As said, leaning on the ridiculous, but not enough to not be able to relate to the characters of the story is the key to the success of King Knight. By keeping things playful, we can further our enjoyment of Thorn’s crisis.
When Thorn begins his soul searching journey, he encounters one eyebrow-raising situation after another. Yet, we never lose sight of what Bates Jr is trying to get across in his film. King Knight, at its core, is about acceptance of yourself, be it who you were in your past or who you have become as a person now. You need to accept that that person was you. Still, you have grown since then, or that moments in your past that moulded you into the person you are now are okay that you shouldn’t judge others for what or who they used to be just because your experiences were negative.
Everyone is different, and it is heartwarming to see this eccentric bunch of outcasts try to find a connection with other people, even if it is by forming a coven. Everyone has baggage from past experiences; it is just a matter of how you carry that baggage with you through the next phase of your life and, in turn, if you can accept others baggage.
King Knight is a fun film that takes its serious hat off and lets its hair down for some silliness to happen. All the while, it can deliver a pertinent message and never loses itself with the premise. The less you know about the reveals within King Knight, the better as that opening act is astoundingly great due to it just catching you completely off guard. Finally, we have a comedy that we all need to watch once in a while. With such a strong cast holding up the other end of the story, this is a sure-fire winner of a flick.
For more of our coverage of Fantasia Fest 2021, have a gander below! We will update each day!
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