Nov 132005
 

Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

Balian of Ibelin travels to Jerusalem during the crusades of the 12th century, and there he finds himself as the defender of the city and its people.

Directed by
Ridley Scott

Genres
Action, Drama, War

Cast
Martin Hancock, Michael Sheen, Nathalie Cox, Eriq Ebouaney, Jouko Ahola, David Thewlis, Liam Neeson, Philip Glenister, Orlando Bloom, Bronson Webb, Kevin McKidd, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Steven Robertson, Marton Csokas, Alexander Siddig

We rented this movie Friday night. Much is said about how the film portrays religion, given the sensitive subject of the Crusades, but I feel that Ridley has achieved a wonderful balance between how Christianity and Islam are portrayed. Both are given fair airtime on their ideologies, and the film tries to preach (pardon the pun) about tolerance, yet highlights the dangers of fanatical followers of both religions, of misguidance from men in search of worldly power.

Christianity took a beating – where senseless battles are waged in the name of Christ, where insensitivity breed contempt. Priests are cast in negative light and given lines like “convert to Islam, repent later” when all around seems lost. It is emphasized in the show that what matters is in your head and in your heart – that noble actions speak louder than mere empty and repetitive “praise the Lord” chants, as if that will protect you during Judgment Day.

The script is no revolution of coherence or cohesion, yet it works rather well for this type of movie. Because this is more pure entertainment than anything else. In the press material Ridley Scott stated himself that this should be seen more as entertainment than historical facts. Which is absolutely fine by me i might add, at least as long as he states this beforehand. Perhaps the most disturbing things is for instance the way that Orlando Bloom goes from clueless blacksmith to full-fledged sword-wielding knight in 15 minutes movie-time.

And the actors? Orlando Bloom is in my opinion one of the most over-rated actors around today. Here though he’s better than I’ve seen him before. I think the main thing is that he manages to act and look more like an adult this time, while in most previous movies he has felt almost childish. The rest of the cast consist mostly of quite well-known names and they all do a fine job, making this movie quite well-acted although it’s not exactly Shakespeare…

All things said and done?I found this movie to be very entertaining. It’s visually stunning, reasonably well acted with a decent script and some nice characters. What it lacks in coherence and story it makes up for with a strong and quick pace (for the genre) and some truly impressive action scenes.

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