Eye For Film >> Movies >> Kingdom Of Heaven (2005) Film Review
Kingdom Of Heaven
Reviewed by: The Remote Viewer
Uh-oh, CONTROVERSY alert. Ridley Scott has made a new epic. Okay, nothing new there, but - deep breath - it deals with CHRISITANS vs MUSLIMS and may paint both in a BAD LIGHT! Attention Daily Mail readers!
Frankly, I can't understand what all the fuss has been about, as to me the film is just your typical Hollywood epic.
Orlando Bloom plays Balian, a humble blacksmith, who decides to follow his father Godfrey (Liam Neeson) to the Holy Land to try and build a better life after the death of his wife. However, following his father's demise, he gets caught up in a war between the Christians, defending Jerusalem, and the Muslims who want to take it over. He also manages to forge a relationship with Sibylla (Eva Green) and tries to prevent Guy de Lucian (Marton Csokas) from starting a war with the Muslims, led by Saladin (Ghassan Massoud), which the Christians will inevitably lose.
Regarding the big issue of whether the film is anti-Christian, or anti-Muslim, I feel that both sides are compromised, which is how it should be. I don't think that Saladin is particularly monstrous and if anybody bases their opinions on what is in a Hollywood blockbuster, they need their head examined.
The battle scenes are quite stunning, particularly the climatic siege of the Christian's castle. For once, the use of CGI is an advantage, as it enables Scott to create the type of epic visions that he excels in. However, some parts of the film are very flawed, particularly the characters, who seem particularly underwritten. Also, the conclusion feels rushed and low-key after the huge build up to the epic battle.
The performances are a mixed bag, which is usually the case when a film concentrates on effects so much. Orlando - oh dear. He seems to be turning Keanu-esque with every performance and does not have enough personality, or toughness, to convey a knight who led a Christian army. Green, as the queen-turned-commoner Sibylla, is gorgeous, but her role is underdeveloped, as is Jeremy Irons (Tiberias), who appears to leave the stage halfway through. However, the worst performance is given by an unrecognisable Edward Norton, as the leper King Baldwin, who is one of the strangest creatures I have ever seen on film. On the plus side, Neeson is as good as ever in an extended cameo and David Thewlis (Hospitaler) is up to his usual high standards.
Kingdom Of Heaven strives to be something more than your average popcorn movie, yet ultimately fails. However, for it's battle scenes alone, it is worth seeing.Reviewed on: 06 May 2005