Combustible Celluloid
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With: Heath Ledger, Rufus Sewell, Shannyn Sossamon, Paul Bettany, Laura Fraser, Mark Addy
Written by: Brian Helgeland
Directed by: Brian Helgeland
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for action violence, some nudity and brief sex-related dialogue
Running Time: 144
Date: 03/08/2001

A Knight's Tale (2001)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Shall We Lance?

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Writer-director Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential, Mystic River) delivers a breezy,lightweight romp perfect for a summer afternoon at the movies. HeathLedger stars as a peasant who longs to joust even though he's not ofroyal blood. Newcomer Shannyn Sossamon (who looks a lot like AngelinaJolie) co-stars as the lovely princess who captures his fancy. Thejousts are beautifully, clearly, excitingly filmed and never seem torepeat themselves. Loaded with 1970's rock anthems, exploding,splintering lances -- not to mention the poetic, Wrestlemania-typeintroductions by Geoffrey Chaucer (Paul Bettany) -- the film magicallytargets itself to all audiences and not just teens.

DVD Details: Universal's 2005 "director's cut" DVD reincorporates about 12 minutes back into the film, and it's still a breeze. Hopefully, this new release will give people a chance to catch up with this neglected gem. Extras include a bunch of featurettes, the HBO making-of special, and a music video ("We Are the Champions" by Robbie Williams with Queen). Audio is available in four languages (English, Spanish, French and Portuguese) and there are optional subtitles in the same four languages. Oddly, Helgeland does not provide a commentary track, even on his director's cut.

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