Yesterday while stitching together the rich textures of the tapestry of procrastination, I watched First Knight. I love this movie. I'm not at all sure why. Or more exactly, all the reasons I can think of put together seem insufficient to explain why I should love it in spite of its cringe-worthy anachronisms in speech, costume, battlecraft, gender politics or indeed, politics of any kind. Of course, it's not taking itself that seriously and Arthur is the stuff of legend anyway -- it's not like they were recreating a historical event or something, so no need to be churlish about the fact that Camelot looks like a part of Legoland. So maybe I love it because it's so bad. And because Julia Ormond's hair is so good.
Sometimes bits of of film-making suspend belief not by being plausible, by drawing you into the reality of the character's world, but by being so wildly, ostentatiously implausible, so inconsistent and internally contradictory by their very own fictional lights, that you cannot help but be beguiled. You can't help but love it, because it doesn't even care whether or not it seems real ... all it seems like is a movie.
First Knight plays this card with a trump so spectacular it commands even my jaded respect. Naturally we all know the canonical love triangle between Guinevere, Arthur and Lancelot. Even today poor romantic sods like me worry about whether or not something like this will happen to us: you marry the fine, powerful, upstanding, brilliant man that you have loved for as long as you can remember, and then bam! Along comes the Real Man and you (naturally) Just Can't Help Yourself. Twoo wuv.
So far, so cinematic. First Knight casts Richard Gere into the role of Lancelot. Now, I don't 'get' the Richard Gere thing, he seems more vacant than any other person whose facial expressions I've ever had more than five minutes to inspect. Still, his face and leonine hairdo have a certain graven-image style masculinity, and since your credulity levels are already softened up by the fact that you're lounging on the sofa watching reruns,you're prepared to accept that this, plus a little sexy sword expertise, would give him the edge over the old, dull king.
I love it. Anyone who believes that any woman, especially one with hair extensions as fantabulous as Julia Ormond's, would rather tear the leather jerkin off the lanky, permanently gawky-looking physique of Mr Gere than leap into the bearskins with Connery, stalking around the FAO-Schwartz Camelot sets with his knightly skirts flying looking as sexy as anything alive, will believe anything.