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KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
The Crusades were one of the bloodiest conflicts waged between the West and the Middle East. It is in the time of the Crusades of the 12th Century that Jerusalem comes under attack. Balian of Ibelin (Orlando Bloom), a blacksmith, must now rise and lead his people in an effort to protect themselves from the crusading invaders.
: War Drama
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"Kingdom of Heaven" tells a great story. One of a boy who would be King, one of a time when rulers and kings were men of honour and principles, and most relevant to our time - one of a time when Muslims and Christians were up in arms against each other, save for a few good men.
It's a gorgeous epic to watch. Majestic landscapes and the tiniest attention to detail, beautiful colours, grand ceremony... and of course, Orlando Bloom in his first starring role. Sadly, while he is pretty to look at, I'm afraid Bloom is forever doomed to be the romantic, soulful, quiet mono-character that he has been ever since his debut as Legolas. To his credit however, this was one of his most convincing performances yet.
While the setting is that of the Crusades, the story is one of a young blacksmith who gets plucked out of oblivion by a father he never knew he had. The peasant boy soon ends up in Jerusalem and in the wake of his father's death, takes his place as Baron of Ibelin.
Thrown into the sudden role of nobleman, we watch as Balian (Orlando Bloom) defies the intricacies of war politics and becomes - a little too easily - the perfect knight. As with all grand epics, it has its fair share of stirring speeches and grand gestures that will make your heart soar.
The sensitive issue of Muslim and Christian politics is handled with finesse here. Good historical characters portrayed on both sides expound on ideas that we could all learn a thing or two from in this day and age.
Unfortunately for "Kingdom of Heaven", post-"Lord of the Rings", no battle scene will ever thrill an audience as much for a long time. The effort is commendable however, with enough blood and gore to satiate fans of this genre.
The movie flows at a consistent, predictable current from start to finish. It's entertaining and a good way to spend two and a half hours, but it will not be leaving its mark on the great wall of Hollywood blockbusters.
Cinema Online, 23 September 2008
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