What stands out in David Lowery’s telling of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is the film’s poetic depiction of a land perched between paganism and Christianity, in that boundary space between competing ways of life: a solstice of cultures, a time—like Christmas—when the barriers between worlds are made thin. The pagan forces of nature and the kingdoms of Christendom are at war throughout the film, fighting over a land that is already saturated with the red bloodshed of centuries. And what’s it all for? In the end, even as he dreams of running from his own mortality, Gawain (Dev Patel) discovers that he’s already rotting from the inside out. The green that The Lady (Alicia Vikander) tells us will take everything already took him and his kingdom long ago.