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Two Knights [Piotr Szkopiak, UK, 2022]

High tension, drama, and theological rumination are the orders of the day in this smart short film, which transports biblical characters into a futuristic, post-apocalyptic setting. Two Knights centres around Lucifer and Archangel Michael. Disconnected from the rest of the world and meeting each other after what appears to be thousands of years, the two characters face off over a suggested game of chess. The invitation extended from Lucifer to Michael is something of a pretext, the game itself allowing for a symbolic arena in which old wounds are to be reopened and addressed.

It is clear from very early on that Lucifer is resentful for something that Michael has done in the past, an incident from which he has struggled to move on, the pain eating away at him all of this time. This pain is sifted through a filter of philosophical debate, moral inquiry and, finally, romantic despair. The themes presented here are diametrically opposed and grandiose in scale – good versus evil, light versus dark, love versus hate.

Well-trodden territory in art, the spectre of angels and demons have been represented with varying success in films running from the less serious and satirical side of Dogma [Kevin Smith, USA, 1999], A Life Less Ordinary [Danny Boyle, USA/UK, 1997], and Constantine [Francis Lawrence, USA, 2005], to the more earnest inventions of Angel Heart [Alan Parker, USA, 1987], Meet Joe Black [Martin Brest, USA, 1998], and The Devil’s Advocate [Taylor Hackford, USA, 1997]. Two Knights certainly lingers more closely to the second camp, with commendable heavy lifting by the two main actors of a dialogue-heavy screenplay. The highest praise (no pun intended) goes to the technical production team. The cinematography has a high-end sheen, and the minimal set is expertly designed to give the illusion of staging on a far more epic scale to simply breath-taking effect.

Overall, this is a confidently crafted short drama that valiantly tackles age-old human concerns and delivers them from a fresh and innovative point of view.



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