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Sunday, October 09, 2005

DVD Review: Kingdom of Heaven
by Ian Dawe

For all its aspirations to be the next Lawrence of Arabia, I felt truly stirred by Ridley Scott's latest film only once. Balian (Orlando Bloom), a French blacksmith and illegitimate son of a crusading nobleman, arrives in Jerusalem for the first time. Poor and unrecognized, he asks an old man, "Where was Christ crucified?" It's the kind of question you can ask in Jerusalem, even now. The old man points to a hill. Balian climbs the hill and in an absorbing, spiritually-charged montage, searches his heart for signs that God is speaking to him in this holiest of places. He does not hear much. In that lies the most intriguing notion in this attractive but otherwise unsatisfying historical epic.

Ridley Scott is one of those directors that can always be relied upon to deliver a visually interesting film, often with good performances from good actors, but sometimes he simply drops the ball. Legend (1986) suffered from a glut of contemporary fantasy films and Kingdom of Heaven perhaps suffers from the same symptom. If it had come along before Scott's own Gladiator (2000), it would have been seen as a landmark achievement in historical re-imagination. As it stands, there is so much sound and fury in the film that it ultimately grows more tiresome than inspiring.

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:: posted by Donald Melanson, 10/09/2005 Comments (0)
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Archives prior to April, 2005 are from Donald Melanson's personal film blog.

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