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Kingdom of Heaven has been a favorite of mine for some time now. I watch this film regularly and it never gets old. This is from the director of Gladiator, Ridley Scott.
An overlook on the films plot:
The film is about Ballion, who is a son of a Knight in Jerusalem and his story. At the start of the film, you learn that Ballions wife killed herself because she lost her child. A company of men travel to meet Ballion, and he soon realises that the Knight who comes is in fact his father, who asks him to go with him to the city of Jerusalem. After denying the request of his farther, his priest visits him at his work place as a blacksmith. He tells Ballion that his wife is burning in hell. Ballion kills the priest and rides to meet his farther who is on the way to Jerusalem. His farther later dies in the film when soldiers are sent to take his son back to where he killed the priest.
The story continues, when Ballion meets the lepar king, who asks him to go to his fathers home. Ballion ends up becoming a powerful knight, and impresses the king so much that he asks him to take over after he dies.
This truly is a brilliant film, which actually has some fact to it. A lot of the knights where in fact real. History shows us that the Knights Templar was a christian organisation made to fight for the church, which is shown quite a lot in this film. The only down side to this film is the ending, where Baliion and his new wife ride after the English who come to reclaim the city of Jerusalem which was lost! It seemed as though this ending was made to lead onto a second film, but a second film was never made so i found that to be a little miss leading.
Brillaint film that is worth watching repeatedly!
This movie is about a leper king who is struggling in a war. Orlando bloom stars in this as a young blacksmith who then becomes a knight as he travels to Jerusalem. He brings with him some interesting characters, some who don't go all the way through the film.
From desserts to storms, epic battles to the peaceful life in the city, this film is gripping and has lot's of good effects. Realistic battles and sword fights make it come to life along with the blood and gore. This film isn't recommended for under 15's, lot's of blood and gore.
Balian (the young blacksmith) has to take control of an army and defend Jerusalem as the king is slowly dying. Great filming and light effects in the desert and fantastic camera angles to capture epic moments. He starts off in a little town, kill's a priest, is an outlaw and then is chased by the army. His father and companions protect him as he get's to Jerusalem then he is sucked into a world of wars and corruption.
Released in 2005 and directed by Ridley Scott, Kingdom of Heaven tells the story of Balian of Ibelin, a 12th century peasant whose quest to find redemption will take him from a lowly village blacksmith to defender of Jerusalem.
Balian played by Orlando Bloom is a grieving husband and father. When he kills the village priest in an arguement over the suicide of his wife, he is forced to go on the run with his father (Liam Neeson), with whom he has recently been reunited. They journey to Jerusalem whereupon Balian takes the oath of a knight and takes responsability for the lands of Ibalin. There he meets Princess Sybylla (Eva Green) and her brother, the King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem (Edward Norton). Baldwin has been able to maintain a fragile peace with the Sarcen leader Saladin, despite the best efforst of the fervent Templars led by Guy de Lusignan, played by the Bourne Supremacy's Martin Csokas. When was becomes unavoidable it is left to Balian to draw upon all his intuition to fight for the survival of Jerusalem under the vengeaful assault of Saladin.
Despite many historiacl inaccuracies, the film is still a magnificent spectacle. As with any Ridley Scott piece, the visuals are always stunning, the soundtrack is matched only by the scale of the action sequences and the performances from the cast, espescially Jeremy Irons in the role of Raymond and David Thewlis, Edward Norton, Eva Green, Martin Csokas and Brendan Gleeson are brilliant and Ghassan Massoud as Saladin is captivating, truly capturing the role of both warrior and wisened prophet.
However if there is one major flaw with the film it is in it's leading man. At the time Orlando Bloom was riding the crest of a wave with success in the Pirates of the Carribean movies and the Lord of the Ring's trilogy, however he is hopelessly miscast here. Russel Crowe was originally to play the role of Balian and you could see him in the role, reminiscent of Maximus in Gladiator. But I guess some studio exec came up with this harebrained idea. You don't believe for one moment, that when all those stirring speeches are being delivered, that it's coming from Balian. And it's a real shame.
Compare the way in which this is viewed with Gladiator, which is now considered a classic. Gladiator was a box office smash worldwide. Kingdom of Heaven had to rely on European success to recoup it's budget, yet Kingdom is the deeper, more meaningful film. It is a crime that a leading actor with more gravitas could have been found then it surely would have been more universally acclaimed. Ewan McGregor perhaps? You watch Orlando Bloom and you're not quite sure waht he is. He is not the strong leader, nor is he the great thinker that Saladin struugles to overcome.
With the release of the four disc director's cut which restored many of the cut scenes and brought the runtime to nearley 3 hours, the tale is now complete, and it is still a good film. But it's still that Blooming performance. As the Boston Globe remarked, it's not that he is bad, rather that he is just holding the fort for a genuine star who never arrives.
Balian de Ibelin is aggrieving blacksmith. His wife committed suicide when their baby died and she has just been buried. Balian receives a visit from Knight Godfrey de Ibelin and finds out that he is his father and Balian is asked to go with him on their journey to Jerusalem to find peace with God but Balian refuses. Not long after the priest comes to visit Balian and a fight ensues as the priest tells Balian that he had his wife beheaded as she committed suicide so she will now be in hell. Balian kills the priest and soon sets off to find his father and join him on his journey to Jerusalem where he hope he can pray for forgiveness and get his wife into heaven.
Balian and soon catches up with his father and start to prepare to go on their way but soon a group of rider turn up and demand Balian is handed over as he killed the priest but Godfrey dies not allow this and the fight sees a lot of Godfrey's men being killed. Godfrey is also injured and is told that there is a good chance he will die. The man carry on with their journey and soon they reach the Port where they will await a boat to take them to Jerusalem but Godfrey is not well and soon he is on his death bed. He talks to Balian of the dangers of Jerusalem and what will happen when the King dies. He tells Balian of his hopes for a peaceful life there where Muslims and Christian can live side by side but how a certain few are trying to kill all the Muslim and make Jerusalem a place for just Christians. Godfrey's last task is to make Balian a knight and ask him to serve the King and the people and try to carry on with his work.
Will Balian make it to Jerusalem and can he continue to serve the King and stop the few people from killing the Muslims. Can Jerusalem be for both Muslim and Christians?
My plot summery may seem a lot to some people but believe me I have only scratched the surface of this story and all of what I have talked about does happen within the fist half and hour of the film and there really is so much more to this story to be found.
I have actually watched this film twice now as the first time I did not watch it properly and was not following the story. It is not a film which I would normally watch but I think the appeal was Orlando Bloom who played the lead role of Balian. I found him to be excellent in his role and enjoyed his portrayal of being thrown into the unknown world of a Knight. I liked the awkward chemistry between him and his father who was played by Liam Neeson and I enjoyed seeing the two men getting closer. Liam Neeson played a great role I just wish he would have been in it for longer. Orlando came across slightly naïve at first but it was a joy to watch him grow and change throughout the film.
There were a lot of supporting actors in the film and they all were very good. I think there were only a few which really stood out for me and these included Eva Green, Jeremy Irons and Brendan Gleeson. They really did give a lot to their roles and made their characters very believable.
The film was Directed by Ridley Scott so I was expecting a lot of good special effects and attention to details and I can honestly say that I was not disappointed. The fight scenes were excellent and quite brutal at times. They were all made to look very realistic and I did at times wince when someone got slashed with a sword. The effects which were used to create the cities and surrounding areas all looked very good and authentic as to what Jerusalem would have looked like back in the 12th century. I like how we would move from a run down area into a massive palace which was full of luxuries. This did show how people lived back in the old times.
The music in the film was excellent and very helpful for the emotions and tension of the film., I think a lot of credit should be given to Harry Gregson Williams for creating such a wonderful music score. I was always able to tell when a battle was about to begin or something bad was going to happen just from the change in the music.
The DVD which I have is the Special edition 2 disk version. I has a lot of special features which include:-
The Pilgrims Guide Text Commentary
Inside Look at Tristan and Isolde
Interactive Production Grid
Trailers and TV spots
6 Featurettes (movie reel, History v Hollywood, Ridley Scott - Creating Worlds, Production, Wardrobe and Orlando Bloom, The Adventure of a Lifetime
As I am not a fan of watching the bonus features as I find it does spoil the film for me I have not watched any of these so I am unable to make comment on them.
The running time of this film is 138 minutes which I did find to be a little to long and don't think anything would have been lost from the film by reducing this by 30 minutes. The certificate is a 15 and I do agree with this as there is a lot of brutal violence. I bought this DVD many months ago and I cannot remember just how much I paid for it but I am sure if you check places like Amazon or EBay then you should be able to pick this up for just a few pounds.
Overall I am going to recommend this film as the storyline is excellent and too is the acting. Just don't be put off from the length of it.
Kingdom of heaven was released in year 2005 and is an epic movie. The movie was produced and directed by greatest director Ridley Scott. The script writer of a movie was William Monahan. This is a story of a French villager who defenses his city of Jerusalem against Muslims.
Cast and Crew:
Orlando Bloom portrays Balian.
Eva green plays a role of princess Sibylla.
Edward Norton plays a role of Baldwin, king of Jerusalem.
Jeremy irons portrays Tiberias.
Brendan Gleeson portrays Rayland.
Ghassan Massoud plays a role of Saladin, leader of Muslims army.
It is the time around 12th century a French villager Balian lost his wife and children. One day a group of crusaders comes in the village and one of them tells Balian that he is his biological father. This man is godfrey of Ibelin and tells Balian to come to Jerusalem with him. He gently refuses. He came to know that his half brother cuts off his wife's head before burial and takes her crucifix. He kills his brother and decides to follow his father to leave a life of peace and to gain redemption. Some soldiers of this village arrests Balian. His father and his army fights with them. They win the fight and able to rescue Balian but most of his men were killed. They want to serve the king of Jerusalem and want that on this holy land Muslims and Christians live happily and peacefully. In the midway of journey his ship is hit by storm. Some Muslims finds him and he asks them the way to Jerusalem. The people here accept him as a lord of Ibelin. King Baldwin 1V is a good ruler and was smitten by Guy de Lusignan. Guy is looking for an opportunity to kill Baldwin, kill all Muslims and to rule on the kingdom of Christians.
Saladin is a leader of Muslims force. He also wants to retake Jerusalem and attacks on Kerak. Balian comes forward to defend Kerak. They charge on Saladin's army but they capture Balian. Here he meets Saladin's general Imad. He freed Imad sometime so he frees Balian. Baldwin comes with his army to attack on Saladin's camp. He beats Saladin's army. When Baldwin dies Guy become the king of Jerusalem. Rayland kills Saladin's sister and refuses to back his body to Saladin. Guy and Rayland march to fight with Saladin's army. They left Balian to guard Jerusalem. Guy and Rayland are captured by Saladin and he marches on Jerusalem. Balian is alone here. He prepares his army and defense. Now what happens next? Do Balian able to save the population of Jerusalem? How Balian saves Jerusalem? There is a reason why this movie is named Kingdom of Heaven. The reason is hiding in the ending of the movie. I don't want to ruin the ending so check out "Kingdom of Heaven".
I like to watch historical and epic movie and I am a big fan of Ridley Scott. So I watched this movie and I really enjoyed this movie. Ridley Scott delivers another historical movie after Gladiator. Ridley scott is best director when it comes to deliver a historical movie. Edward Norton performance is tremendous and was praised as a king Baldwin. He puts up commendable performance. The performance by Orlando Bloom is very similar to Lord of the rings and Pirates of the Caribbean and you can see resemblance of these characters in Balian. He is best fitted person for this role. His screen presence is fine but his face is emotionless. He looks very young in his previous movies like Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean. I think this is his first movie as a lead actor and he manages to act very nicely. Role of Eva Green is very small and he seemed completely out of the movie. So fans of Eva Green seem disappointed. Ridley scott casts Muslim actor for the role of Saladin. His acting is also fine.
Cinematography is stunning and Cinematographer John Mathieson did a wonderful job in the movie. He basically emphasized on designing of sets and visual effects. Kingdom of Heaven is masterpiece from technical point. Every scene in the movie is impressive. The city of Jerusalem is well designed technically. The battle scenes are marvelous and Jaw dropping. The battling scenes are comparable with Lord of the Rings. They have shown the war technology used at that time. You can see Orlando Bloom chopping heads, capturing balls of oils and moving towers. The action sequences and special effects are breath taking. The sound track is appropriate and quite different. Soundtracks depict historical events. Gregson Williams delivers very wonderful soundtracks. The costumes are beautifully designed. Story of the movie will stick for sometime in your mind. There is a message in the story. The ending is very powerful. Overall this movie is great. A must see for historical an epic movie lovers. That's all I can give you. Thanks for reading.
Often tagged 'Gladiator 2', Kingdom of Heaven is Ridley Scott's take on The Crusades during the 12th century, and fans of Gladiator should know what to expect; Elaborate sets and costumes; dynamic shots of armoured men in frenzied battle; a fearless yet tormented hero rising from the bottom to change the course of history. Balian (Orlando Bloom) a bereaved blacksmith, is approached by his previously unknown father, a crusading Lord named Sir Godfrey (Liam Neeson), and joins his father to fight the crusades, but his father and his men are ambused and killed en route and Balion ends up taking up his fathers office in Jerusalem, a Crusader stronghold in the Holy Land. There he becomes embroiled in a political struggle between rivalling orders of Christian knights, and after the tensions spill out into war and defeat at the hands of Saladin's Saracen army in the desert, Balion is left to defend Jerusalem and its townsfolk against Saladin's overwhelming forces.
Whilst all the right ingredients are in place, the film somehow doesn't gel together as well as Gladiator however. Bloom, though he gives a reasonably good performance, doesn't have the required presence for the role, and the film suffers as a result. It also seems disjointed at times, and doesn't move forward with the same sense of urgency and purpose as did Gladiator. There are still some fantastic action sequences however, particularly the ambush of Sir Godfrey's men at the start, which sees a blonde, teutonic giant of a man still hacking away furiously at his mailed attackers despite having an arrow fired through his throat. The siege on Jerusalem is also very well done, although a little CGI heavy at times. What look like fireflies can be seen arcing silently across the distant sky, until they become flaming fireballs, and crash mercilessly into the besieged town. We see hordes of Saracens atop vast siege towers trying to breach the walls, as men fall away in flames and punctured by arrows. Its all very entertaining, and well worth watching, and the mounted knight scenes look particularly spectacular (perhaps because there is no CGI). There are some great performances too, particularly from Syrian actor Ghassan Massoud as Saladin.When he meets the leprous King of Jerusalem on the battlefield, he offers his physicians to attend to the ailing monarch, and it was touches like this raised the character above simplistic cartoon villain status and gave the film added depth as a result. The irrational religious fervour and mental epidemy of the time is well captured, and Scott seems eager to remind us that this sentiment has never fully gone away.
Whilst well done, the film somehow still manages to feel a little hollow, perhaps because Bloom's performance is ultimately rather one-dimensional. Some weak and rather cringe worthy motivational speeches given by bloom to the besieged townsfolk also don't help in this regard. The love story between Balion and the King's daughter also feels a little contrived.
The film comes close to recreating the magic of the best historical epics, but somehow it falls a little short due to a slightly meandering plot and a lead role that doesn't quite work. It still remains a good film however, and is well worth a watch for anyone with even a passing interest in this fascinating period in history.
I was at first reluctant to see Kingdom of Heaven. Being a fan of films such as Troy and Alexander I feared that it might not live up to my expectations. However this film is compulsive viewing for those with little knowledge of the crusades or lots of it.
I personally knew very little but loved the story of Kingdom of Heaven. A classic tale of a grieving, lost knight facing a battle of unbelievably high odds and coming through it all with glory and honour.
I have to say I was suprised at the performance of Orlando Bloom, who excells himself as the brooding and "perfect" knight Balian. I was not sure about his ability to hold a leading role before Kingdom of Heaven, but I now think he may become one of the greats.
Jeremy Irons and Liam Neeson also feature and manage to deliver spectacular performances in the little time they have.
I story that will make you smile and cry, Kingdom of Heaven is an awesome film, with action packed battles and complex emotional scenes. Congratulations Mr. Ridley Scott on another successful blockbuster
Having successfully tackled the Roman era with Gladiator in 2000, Ridley Scott here turns his directing hand to Jerusalem with Kingdom of Heaven (2005). With Russell Crowe his hero in Gladiator, he has Orlando Bloom to work with here as the hero who comes from nothing to lead an army.
In medieval Jerusalem ion the 12th Century, there is unrest during the Crusades. Balian, a blacksmith, travels to Jerusalem to join the quest of Sir Godfrey, and to fulfil his destiny as a Knight. He finds himself leading the defense of the city against the might of Saladin in a tale of deep determination and belief.
The Cast and Performances
Orlando Bloom plays the lead Balian, and although he does so with ability, you never believe him as a hero. He seems rather weak, to be honest. There are good performances that keep the story going, and celebrated British actors such as Jeremy Irons and David Thewlis give more solid performances. Liam Neeson is good as Sir Godfrey. The supporting and many extras help the film to be believeable.
I don't know whether I was in the wrong frame of mind for watching this film, but I felt distinctly disappointed by both Ridley Scott and his lead Orlando Bloom. The supporting cast of experienced actors bolster what should be a decent film, and there are moments I describe as 'feel-good'. However, the moments of rousing speeches and piognancy don't stand out from the rest, and I think this has a lot to do with a mediochre performance from Bloom. This is not one of my favourites.
Decent enough tale, weak performances in places.
I rate this film as 2 stars.
The VHS is hard to find, as most are now, but you can pick up a DVD copy from amazon.co.uk for £4.98.
This review may also be posted on ciao.co.uk.
Thanks for reading.
Set just before the Crusade of King Richard, this is the tale of how Jersualem was lost to Saladin.
Its a pretty basic story of deception and sword fighting. Its a plesently entertaining film, with some amazing acting from the likes of Jeremy Irons, Eva Green and Edward Norton. However not all the action is that good. Orlando Bloom was rather poor, portraying a more comic and flat performance. This certainly does not work well with the character he is playing, who is supose to be brave and strong. At times when he is supose to be giving a strong noble speach, or words of encouragment, it simply comes off as cheesy.
This aside its still fun to watch, with some fun battle scenes with a rather impressive looking armies. Ridly Scott makes a worthy addition to the growing number of large battle films (Troy, Alexander, 300), but may have done with changing the lead. However if your a fan of Orlando then its thumbs up all round
Kingdom of Heaven (2005) - FILM ONLY REVIEW
Certificate: 15 (UK), R (USA), 15A (Ireland)
Running time: 145 minutes (there is also a directors cut at 194 minutes)
Writer: William Monahan
Director: Ridley Scott
Balian Orlando Bloom
Godfrey Liam Neeson
Guy de Lusignan Marton Csokas
Nasir Alexander Siddig
Sibylla Eva Green
Tiberias Jeremy Irons
King Baldwin Edward Norton
Saladin Ghassan Massoud
Kingdom of Heaven is the latest historical epic from Ridley Scott, he of Gladiator fame (as the DVD packaging and posters like to remind us). I liked Gladiator for all its faults and I would probably liked it a good deal more if I had known that Alexander, Troy and King Arthur were in my future and I was hopeful of something equally absorbing in this offering. It initially looked bravely relevant to be releasing a film depicting the conflict between Christians and Muslims in the Middle East at such a sensitive time, but the reality was that this film did what any self-respecting politician would do: sidestep the issues, bore anyone listening, and divert attention away from history using power and visual spectacles. Jerusalem, Saladin tells Balian, is everything and nothing and I think that pretty much sums up this film: it was better than nothing, but not everything it could have been by a long way.
The year is 1184, and somewhere in deepest France we meet the hero of our story, a humble but hunky blacksmith by the name of Balian (Orlando Bloom). Outcast from his village due to the recent suicide of his wife, the blacksmith broods in his workshop while his wife is buried in shame for her sin. As Balian moodily works in his forge, however, a mysterious stranger returning from a crusade in the Holy Land rides into his village, looking for horseshoes and his long-lost illegitimate son. Conveniently, he finds both his needs fulfilled in Balian. This stranger is Sir Godfrey of Ibelin (Liam Neeson), and being of noble stock, offers to restore Balian to his legally dubious inheritance and whisk him off to Jerusalem where he can find honour and glory in abundance. Balian (evidently still feeling moody) initially declines this offer, but after inadvertently murdering the local priest in a fit of forge rage, changes his mind and duly travels off with Godfrey to seek adventure and penitence.
So far, so convenient. Unfortunately, Godfrey dies on route to Jerusalem - although not before knighting Balian, and turning him into a brilliant military tactician and master of swordsmanship via a single fencing lesson that covers nothing more than hold your sword high. Still, Godfreys death seems to work in Balians favour, as he arrives in Jerusalem with remarkable little effort charming everyone he meets on the way, including a Saracen warrior called Nasir (Alexander Siddig) and is instantly accepted with delight as Godfreys son and heir by his friends and followers. Wasting no time in claiming his inheritance (an arid land he transforms into a lush and prosperous oasis via an irrigation project), Balian is soon dining with the leprous Baldwin, King of Jerusalem (Edward Norton), and honouring the memory of his dead wife by seducing the Kings married sister Sibylla (Eva Green). This last act angers chief baddie Guy de Lusignan (Marton Csokas), who happens to be Sibyllas husband and heir to the throne. The Jerusalem that Balian has arrived in is more than just a city: at this time is a Christian kingdom captured during the first Crusade and held/ occupied (depending on your perspective) by European soldiers seeking wealth and glory as much as for religious reasons. The kingdom is divided between Baldwins party, led by Tiberius (Jeremy Irons), who have brokered an uneasy peace with Saracen leader Saladin (Ghassan Massoud); and the war mongering Knights Templar (who Im sure you will remember from The Da Vinci Code) led by Guy, who wish to break the peace. The Templars know that the death of Baldwin is imminent, and that they merely have to bide their time until Guy can claim the throne to get their nefarious ends with only Balian to stand in their way.
There is no doubt that Kingdom of Heaven looks fantastic. The sweeping battle scenes are truly impressive, and an incredibly detailed large-scale set was built to realistically recreate what the medieval city of Jerusalem would have looked like. I thought both the cinematography and set design were top notch. Likewise, the pixellated soldiers who populated the CGI backgrounds in the major battles were extremely natural and hard to distinguish from what the real thing in a cast of thousands would have appeared like (unlike in some films, where you see the join). The music may not have been as powerfully memorable as in Gladiator but it certainly added an impressive historical ambience to the production (although not enough for me to buy a copy of the CD).
So what was wrong with it? Firstly, I had huge problems with the casting of Orlando Bloom as Balian. There are the obvious physical traits someone as slight and effeminate as Orlando may be great for playing an elf, but is completely unrealistic as a blacksmith. Admittedly blacksmiths may be few and far between these days, but take it from me, if you are doing something that physical all day that you would be a good deal more beefy in the arm region than Mr Bloom. Then there is the fact that he has yet to develop the full acting range necessary to take the lead with what should be a character expressing an array of emotions. Balians wife dies and he looks moody. Balian inherits wealth and power, and he looks moody. Balian gets the chance to bed a beautiful princess and he looks moody. Balian is hardly a great character to begin with, though he is far too passive, falling into one situation after another and the stunted portrayal given by Bloom makes it virtually impossible to care about him or what he does. Having said that, I was intrigued by how he was handily equipped with all the skills he needed throughout the film on demand (blacksmith, farmer, irrigation expert, diplomat, military tactician, general, politician ) despite the fact that he grew up as a medieval peasant, and would have been lucky if he had knowledge of basic literacy. But we are meant to forget about all that because dull old Balian just wants to be good.
My second problem is in the handling of the politics. While this is Hollywood history, and can therefore be expected to be simplified and manipulated to fit the needs of plot, its New Labour style multicultural message and incessant moralising get tedious after a while. While showing an interpretation of the crusades that is sympathetic to the Muslim perspective is to be welcomed, such a dull lecture as was given in Kingdom of Heaven will doubtless go unnoticed by many people, as they had fallen asleep or ceased to care about what happens.
Ultimately, Kingdom of Heaven isnt really a bad film it is just that it is not a very good one. It is a triumph of style over substance, a soulless and distinctly unexciting experience that may be easy on the eyes, but at 2.5 hours long is rather harder on the backside. This could have been the thinking mans Gladiator, but instead was the cinematic equivalent of Shredded Wheat: worthy but tasteless.
Not recommended (unless you are really bored).
The film is set in the age of the Christian Crusades, a controversial time of both extreme bravery but also of extreme barbarity. The movie is directed by Ridley Scott, whose other works include the epics Gladiator, Black Hawk Down and Kingdom Of Heaven certainly follows these titles footsteps in the impressive battle scenes.
Actors Include: Orlando Bloom, Liam Neeson, Jeremy Irons, Eva Green and Brendan Gleeson amongst others.
Film Time 138 minutes
The main vein of the storyline is a Hollywood approach to the pre-third crusade Jerusalem. The main character, Blacksmith Balian (Orlando Bloom) who has just lost his child and wife (dieing of suicide against the period rules!) is found by his father, a real knight of the holy land the Baron of Ibelin who has returned to bring his son into the fold. Balian refuses, subsequently kills a really annoying priest and then trots after his father in a search for forgiveness in the holyland.
- Here we have the typical hollywoodisation of what could have been a really historically accurate film, while the film puts Balian as a blacksmith who rises through the ranks of society (a feat totally unrealistic in the day) the real Balian was a minor noble/knight of some standing
Once in the holyland we are treated to a quick guide to Jerusalem politics, on the one hand there are the Knights Templars who we see being portrayed as a bunch of bloodthirsty militaristic bible bashers we see these being hung as punishment for killing Arabs and the medieval periods version of the Lib Dems who want everyone to get along. Having succeeded his father to his title, Balian now faces a series of trials and tribulations, after a brief interlude, the death of the king and the murder of Saladins sister war breaks out and the new king leads the army off on a who can get killed quickest walk.
Enter Balian who arrives to defend Jerusalem and after a epic four day defence manages to get terms that enables the people who have survived to survive the victors.
While the film has a hint of historical accuracy certain factors, such as Balians social standing, manages to take the edge off of it. Much like Gladiator and Black Hawk Down the film will leave the viewer torn between two emotions wow look at all the effects (because believe me this director can do action scenes) and the feeling yeah ok Im not convinced this is 80% genuine and for me that takes the shine from an otherwise excellent film. One other problem is the acting of Orlando Bloom, although I admit he is a good actor he just doesnt seem to be the right person for this film hes a bit too much of a pretty boy and lacks that rough edge. The portrayal of the knights Templar does dumb down the film for me, but I suppose in todays PC society we Christians-based western countries must have some ways for explaining the brutality of a so called peaceful religion mind you just look at George Bush for an example.
What else can I say about the film, supporting actors, especially Liam Neeson, do a cracking job and I do believe I spotted the dude from Harry Potter in amongst the cast??
I would recommend this film to anyone as a part of their DVD collection, however there are better films out at the moment and so this film would be a bit of a buy if its on offer type thing. Whereas Gladiator had believability this film joins it only with the quality and scale of its action scenes.
this film can be bought for around £10 on amazon.
Kingdom of Heaven, Ridley Scott (2005)
Staring: Orlando Bloom, Liam Neeson, Jeremy Irons
Orlando Bloom plays Balian a simple blacksmith who embarks on a exciting adventure.
After the death of his wife Balian the village blacksmith is approached by an ageing knight who claims to be his father. Balian pays the knight little heed until he is forced to flee the village and his life is saved by the man who claims to be his father who is gravely wounded in the process. Balian accompanies his fathers companions to the Holy Land. Which is where the adventure really starts. After a shipwreck and a desert trek Balian finally arrives at Jerusalem, where he inherits his fathers title and lands and must face the attacking muslim hordes.
At first I thought this film was going to be a standard hack and slash journey through Biblical lands but the film is better than this on many levels.
Firstly Balian as a character is played well by Bloom who gives a sterling performance and he seems to have put some effort into his representation of Balian. The dialogue and plot are both carefully crafted and work well.
Scott has constructed a thoughtful film and captures the essence of a the medieval city well, and the special effects are of high quality and the battle scenes are top notch.
One critisim is that the film uses many shots that have been lifted straight out of BHD, especially the overhead 'birds eye view' angles. But that is just the directors style and who am I to judge!
This film could easily have become a predictable epic but is actually a top class effort.
"If this is the kingdom of heaven, let God do with it as he wishes" so spoke Balian of Ibelin during his defence of the city of Jerusalem, unfortunately it is Ridley Scott and not god who calls the shots here. Ridley Scott does have an impressive back catalogue under his belt, Blade Runner remains high on my list of favourites but with Black Hawk Down, Thelma and Louise, Alien and the obvious point of reference Gladiator all on his C.V. you know that we are dealing with one of the greats here.
Kingdom of Heaven is centred on real historical events, places and people and as such should try to uphold the responsibility of portraying actual events. Balian of Ibelin played by Orlando Bloom was the hero of the doomed defence of Jerusalem in 1187, then controlled by the Christian knights, as the truce with Saladin collapsed beginning a series of events that ultimately lead to the third crusade and the name that most people have heard of Richard the Lionheart. But whereas the real Balian was a knight of some standing, Scott's character is a run away blacksmith who rises through the ranks in unrealistic socially flexible world. Once in the exotic lands of Outremer he joins in the war to recover the holy land and we are treated to over two hours of action and beautiful backdrops, a rich visual tapestry of eastern promise and contrasting stark desert landscapes. But for those expecting a re-set Gladiator you may be in for a shock. Although like his roman epic the film looks historically accurate, the whole ideology and mindset of the film fails to deliver.
Part of the problem is the casting of Orlando Bloom as the main character. Whereas Russell Crowe was believable as the rough, testosterone driven general turned gladiator, Bloom comes across as a clichéd Lancelot with his model agency good looks and saintly ways. The main problem, however, is the script, despite a lot of talk about God and religion there is no real attempt to recreate am authentic medieval worldview. The characters deliver lines that may seem worthy and spiritually progressive from a twenty first century point of view but really show a lack of understanding of the period. The focal point of the film seems to be an interest in the psychology of chivalry rather than the historical portrayal of knighthood. The characters also seem to be very thin in their portrayal; one-dimensional cardboard cut outs plying a trade of clichés.
The main political battle of the film is between the various factions in the Christian camp, between a pack of far right bigots and a gang of multiculturalists who seem to be more present day than twelfth century. Particularly disappointing was the portrayal of the order of Knights Templars as a pack of rent a thugs, a common depiction these days, when in reality they were deeply devotional and more understanding of their enemies than anyone of the time.
If you can put history aside, unfortunately I can't, you will find a good movie underneath, but it is a pity as with a bit more effort it could have delivered the whole package. There are some big names but none of them shine in any memorable way, though Edward Norton as the masked leper king is very good in the role with only his voice and eyes to work with, the real king Baldwin had however handed kingship to his healthy son many years before oh there I go again. Liam Neeson and Jeremy Irons are more believable as knights but are in no way challenged or pushed by the task at hand. Ghassan Massoud as Saladin manages to find some mileage in his role and comes off as a world wise man, a realist and a man who was lived a life of war and devotion to his faith as well as something of a cynic. It would have been easy to portray him as a medieval messiah but thankfully we are spared that.
On a more positive note the creation of both medieval France where the story opens and the depiction of Jerusalem and the surrounding castles, towns and camps is a technical triumph and in some way these fine visual accomplishments balance out the films other failings. The film will probably divide the audience, those with an eye for history will find some of it off putting, those not bothered by the flawed historical depictions may love it, for me it's a case of style over content, an odd mixture of historical epic, Thomas Mallory and modern day political correctness.
It's the time of the Crusades. A blacksmith, Balian, discovers that his father is a knight, Godfrey Of Ibelin. Together they travel to Jerusalem, the Holy City where a Christian King maintains the fragile peace. When trouble flares between the conflicting religious groups Balian swears to protect the innocent and attempt to broker peace.