Director: Richard Bates Jr.
Writer: Richard Bates Jr.
Starring: Matthew Gray Gubler, Angela Sarafyan, Andy Milonakis, Kate Comer, Nelson Franklin, Emily Chang, Johnny Pemberton, Ray Wise and Aubrey Plaza
King Knight starts like a fairy tale with a narrator telling a story. It feels whimsical and joyous right from the start and keeps this up to the final moments. It’s a film about finding joy in life and dealing with your past, explored through the ideas of witchcraft and the pagen religion.
Thorn (Matthew Gray Gubler, Criminal Minds) leads his coven with his wife Willow (Angela Sarafyan, Westworld), solving their relationship problems and celebrating life. His past catches up with him and Willow discovers that Thorn is actually Thornton, the class president, prom king and voted most likely to succeed in high school. The coven, shocked at this discovery, banish Thorn and he goes on a walkabout of self-discovery.
This is a truly odd film. It’s doesn’t take itself seriously at all, while all the performances are completely straight. This makes a bizarre blend of comedy that works really well and will have you laughing for the whole run-time. It’s a film about witches that doesn’t fall into any tropes. Writer/director Richard Bates Jr. didn’t want to mock the pagen religion in any way so passed his script to members of the religion before making it, to ensure that there were no send ups and the characters were believable. His dedication really pays off and the story created is heartfelt, funny and entertaining.
The cast is great. Matthew Gray Gubler is perfect as the coven leader who is banished from his own coven. He’s incredibly funny and charming on screen. His relationship with his wife, played by Angela Sarafyan is perfect. Their chemistry is great and the argument they have when she first finds out about his past is one of the funniest parts of the film. Ray Wise (Twin Peaks) is also case as Merlin and is great when he is on screen. Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) as a pinecone is also a work of genius and a highlight.
There are so many great moments in this film. It’s just one after another after another. It starts with the coven leaders acting as relationship councillors for the other witches, followed by a strange ceremony involving jumping over a candle. The big reveal, that builds up over the first twenty minutes and then everything that happens afterwards. It’s incredibly funny and odd in the best way possible.
King Knight is full of memorable moments and funny sequences. It’s a brilliant comedy and a great time when watching it. This is definitely going to find a cult following and will probably be divisive. For those that love oddball comedies that are completely different, this will be something you will watch time and time again.