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Warning! Probable spoilers ahead for
readers outside the USA or Canada

selected from
Xposé #56
X-Files finale review here

3-star ratingA Knight's Tale

Released US: May 11 2001 • Released UK: August 31 2001
Directed by Brian Helgeland • Starring: Heather Ledger, Mark Addy, Rufus Sewell, Paul Bettany, Shannyn Sossamon, Laura Fraser

Rated: PG • Reviewed by Steve Gidlow
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Heath Ledger in A Knight's TaleFirst came Gladiator, now we get A Knight's Tale, another attempt to resurrect a dying movie genre - this time, it's the Knights of the Round Table, aided by yet another rising Aussie star.

A Knight's Tale stars Heath Ledger (Mel Gibson's son in The Patriot, who you may also remember from the sword and sorcery TV series Roar), as William Thatcher, a knight's squire who dreams of a better life. After William's knight dies, he seizes the opportunity by adopting his identity and begins to battle his way to the top.

Along the way young William falls for Jocelyn (Shannyn Sossamon), who just might be a princess, the choppy back and forth narrative makes it hard to tell. Another knight, Count Adhemar (Rufus Sewell), wants Jocelyn too, so the pair take their battle into the jousting ring. Who will win the battle of the babe? It's not hard to guess.

Scripted by Brian Helgeland, who did such great work on LA Confidential, A Knight's Tale lacks that project's integrity and breadth of storytelling. Also disconcerting is the use of modern pop and rock songs such as Queen's football chant standard We Will Rock You, and a dance scene straight out of Saturday Night Fever, clearly designed to make the genre accessible to younger viewers. Trouble is, this MTV device undermines the authenticity of the period setting, leaving the viewer confused. As a popcorn summer flick there's enough action to pass muster, but winning the summer box office joust is unlikely.

3-star ratingThe X-Files – Season Eight
16: Three Words

Fox • Written by Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz • Directed by Tony Wharmby • TX: April 8 2001 • Reviewed by James E Brooks
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Episodes 13 – 16 inclusive reviewed in this issue,
plus Episodes 3 – 6 of The Lone Gunmen (see below)

Mulder returns to the X-Files, plunging in headlong, and immediately comes into conflict with Doggett as well as a new group of conspirators intent on killing him.

A case for Mulder and... Doggett?Although an improvement over the previous week’s episode Deadalive, Three Words still fails to generate the kind of excitement myth episodes did in the first three or four seasons. Carter and Spotnitz have created a cleaner story in terms of plot and dialogue, and there’s a certain welcome nostalgia in having a new Deep Throat character, but – as BB King said – the thrill is gone.

What’s really missing, though, is an opportunity to more fully mine Mulder’s circumstances and emotional state on his return. Opting instead for more action, the disorientation and empty feeling – perhaps even some form of post-traumatic shock – that Mulder should feel are only lightly touched on. And even though the conflict between Mulder and Doggett is logical and dramatic, this lack of emotional backfill for Duchovny’s character makes him come off more churlish than sympathetic.

That isn’t to say that the episode is all bad, but its promise was enough that seeing it fall so short is frustrating enough to eclipse the good things about it.

3-star ratingThe Lone Gunmen – Season One
6: Madam, I’m Adam

Fox • Written by Thomas Schnauz • Directed by Bryan Spicer •
TX: March 30 2001 • Reviewed by Paul Spragg
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A man called Adam arrives on the doorstep of the trio, believing his life has been stolen after an alien encounter. But the truth is far, far stranger.

It first appears that this episode is verging on X-Files territory, as the world of conspiracies and alien abductions makes its presence felt. It then takes a sideways turn into being almost a retread of season three’s Wetwired, as Adam is affected adversely by certain images and people. In the end it’s neither, and the explanation is clever and suitably outlandish to fit more into Lone Gunmen territory than that of its parent.

However, the constantly changing premise, while keeping the viewer thinking, does have a tendency to puzzle in places as eventually the revelations come quicker than explanations and things become muddled.

The decidedly odd main characters certainly add to the sense of fun – Maniac Marvin being a wonderful take-off of the kind of person you find in late night TV ads – but the episode never quite hits its comedy stride, with Langly and Frohike being thrown to the floor ceasing to be funny by this point in the series. The inventiveness is certainly to be applauded, but the balance of drama and comedy still needs some fine-tuning to make this show work.

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Images © Fox TV, Columbia Pictures
Reviews © Visual Imagination Ltd 2001. Not for reproduction.
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