Kingdom of Heaven Movie Review

Kingdom of Heaven Movie Review

Kingdom of Heaven Movie Review is a period epic that combines history, religion and warfare. The film stars Orlando Bloom as Balien, a blacksmith who seeks forgiveness and redemption in Jerusalem. Despite the historical and theological inaccuracies, Kingdom of Heaven conveys an important message about the value of human life, peaceful coexistence, ecumenical kinship and strong condemnation of violence. It is worth seeing.

The Story

Few films have caused as much of a stir in the Christian community as Kingdom of Heaven. The film was a historical epic that took many liberties with history. Several programs on the History Channel, such as History vs. Hollywood and Movie Real, have analyzed the historical accuracy of the film.

The story of the prime wire film centers on a blacksmith called Balien who inherits a noble title and is drawn into the raging religious and political conflict over Jerusalem during the Crusades. The lead character is played by Orlando Bloom and he is joined on screen by Jeremy Irons (Tiberias), Edward Norton (Godfrey of Ibelin), Brendan Gleeson (Hospitaller), Marton Csokas, Alexander Siddig and Ghassan Massoud.

Director Ridley Scott knows how to make an epic and he has done it again with this film. There are some stunning scenes and a great cast. However, the story is not without its controversy and it takes some courage to sit through.

The Cast

Few films in history have stuck in the craw of Christian audiences like Kingdom of Heaven has. It’s easy to understand why – Ridley Scott is an atheist and a modernist with a distinctly critical view of modern warfare. But, in this film, he portrays religious Christians – particularly those within the Knights Templar – very badly indeed.

The film stars Orlando Bloom (Lord of the Rings, Black Hawk Down and Troy) as Balian, a blacksmith who is paid a visit from the father he never knew. His family, led by Godfrey of Ibelin (Liam Neeson) invites him to Jerusalem where he will be tasked with protecting the king. The film is a liberal fairy tale that re-contextualizes the Crusades as an oppressive western religion dominating a rival faith and bringing slaughter and imperialism to the Middle East. But, despite the fact that it will offend many people of faith, it is still a very worthwhile film.

The Director

Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator) knows how to shoot a movie with style. Kingdom of Heaven is no exception, with customers, set designers and special effects technicians all going all out to recreate the time and place.

The movie is a bit of a liberal fairy tale, using the Crusades as a metaphor for Christianity as oppressive world power. The story is a little overwrought and the use of names such as Balian makes it a bit heavy-handed, but it’s still a handsome and compelling film with great production design and cinematography.

I like the way that the director tries to humanize both Christians and Muslims while never turning the film into a morality play. He also avoids the wholesale vilification of either faith, and while some might object to individual scenes or characters, it’s still an entertaining movie with a good cast. The director’s cut restores 45 minutes of footage that was trimmed for theatrical release, and it’s a much better version of the movie.

The Rating

Few films have stuck in the craw of religious audiences quite like Kingdom of Heaven. The 2005 historical epic by Ridley Scott has caused arguably the largest dust-up of any of his work and has even been the subject of an episode of History Buffs and Movie Real.

The film tells the story of Balian of Ibelin, a blacksmith who defends Jerusalem from the Crusaders during the Third Crusade. The film is highly fictionalized, but it still manages to be a very dramatic and entertaining story.

The film has a great cast led by Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Jeremy Irons, Liam Neeson and Brendan Gleeson. The music is by Harry Gregson-Williams, who also worked on Gladiator. The score is grandiose and bombastic, but he also weaves in subtle, fragile melodies among all the thunder. The battle scenes are fantastically done and include the toppling of several of Saladin’s siege towers at once. The DVD release of the 2006 Director’s Cut of the movie has been a big success and has renewed interest in the film.

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