The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Kingdom Of Heaven

Submit to DeliciousSubmit to DiggSubmit to FacebookSubmit to Google BookmarksSubmit to StumbleuponSubmit to TechnoratiSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

Judy Thorburn

Kingdom Of Heaven

Las Vegas Tribune - http://www.lasvegastribune.com
Las Vegas Round The Clock
- http://www.lasvegasroundheclock.com

The Women Film Critics Circle - http://www.wfcc.wordpress.com
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
">
kreatia@
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

“KINGDOM OF HEAVEN” – A QUESTION OF FAITH IN BLOOM

A few of the people I spoke with after leaving the preview screening of “Kingdom of Heaven” compared the film to Ridley Scott’s Best Picture of 2000, Gladiator.  Yes, both films are a historical “sword and sandal” epic. And both directed by Ridley Scott are marked by his masterful visual style in regards to sweeping cinematography, spectacular production design, sets and costumes and of course his execution of those impressive battle scenes using a blend of slow motion and jittery camera work.  But, when it comes to storyline or message these are two very different films.  With Kingdom of Heaven Scott tackles a delicate subject, religion, and dares to make a point about the UN-holiness of religious wars with the fight between Christians and Muslims for control of Jerusalem during the time of the Crusades as its backdrop.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, Kingdom Of Heaven, Ridley Scott, William Monahan, Branko Lustig, Lisa Ellzey, Terry Needham, John Mathieson, Arthur Max, Harry Gregson-Williams, Janty Yates, Dody Dorn, Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Jeremy Irons, David Thewlis, Brendan Gleeson, Marton Csokas, Liam Neeson, Ghassan Massoud, medieval, sword and sandal, epic, historiacl drama, knights, knights templar, religious, jerusalem

Kingdom of Heaven is set in 1184. It tells the story of a young blacksmith who is thrust in the middle of a religious war during the 12th century Crusades. Balian is a young widower, a man who has lost his religion after his wife committed suicide and he, himself, has committed a murderous act.  Suddenly, one of the King’s most noble Knights Baron Godfrey of Ibelin (Liam Neeson, in a too brief appearance) shows up claiming to be his father, with hopes of taking Balian back to Jerusalem, where he promises a world that he has never seen, “the kingdom of heaven”, a place where Balian may erase the sins of his wife and himself and find forgiveness.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, Kingdom Of Heaven, Ridley Scott, William Monahan, Branko Lustig, Lisa Ellzey, Terry Needham, John Mathieson, Arthur Max, Harry Gregson-Williams, Janty Yates, Dody Dorn, Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Jeremy Irons, David Thewlis, Brendan Gleeson, Marton Csokas, Liam Neeson, Ghassan Massoud, medieval, sword and sandal, epic, historiacl drama, knights, knights templar, religious, jerusalem

Balian decides to join Godfrey on his trek back to the Holy land to seek redemption, but doesn’t realize what role and responsibilities he must assume after his father dies from a battle wound. Knighted by Godfrey before his death, Balian is given his father’s title and his sword, and told to “defend the king and if the king is no more, protect the people.” More inspiring are his words of wisdom to “Speak the truth, even if it leads to your death”.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, Kingdom Of Heaven, Ridley Scott, William Monahan, Branko Lustig, Lisa Ellzey, Terry Needham, John Mathieson, Arthur Max, Harry Gregson-Williams, Janty Yates, Dody Dorn, Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Jeremy Irons, David Thewlis, Brendan Gleeson, Marton Csokas, Liam Neeson, Ghassan Massoud, medieval, sword and sandal, epic, historiacl drama, knights, knights templar, religious, jerusalem

With the benevolent, disfigured King Baldwin (a soft spoken Edward Norton, hidden behind a silver mask) on the throne, Christian and Muslims have co-existed in Jerusalem. But, it is a fragile peace that troubles Jerusalem Marshal Tiberius (Jeremy Irons), as evil forces within his army are making plans. The king’s beautiful sister Sybilla (steamy and mysterious Eva Green) is married to dastardly Guy de Lusignon (ever sneering, Marton Csokas) a bloodthirsty fanatic who is waiting for the leprosy-afflicted king to die so he and his cohort, the Knight Templar warmonger Reynald (Brendan Gleeson) can wage a Holy War against the Muslims, under the name of Christ. When Balian arrives in Jerusalem he becomes an aid to the King where he is faced with succumbing to a love temptation, keeping the peace and the King’s people safe without sacrificing his integrity and what he knows to be just.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, Kingdom Of Heaven, Ridley Scott, William Monahan, Branko Lustig, Lisa Ellzey, Terry Needham, John Mathieson, Arthur Max, Harry Gregson-Williams, Janty Yates, Dody Dorn, Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Jeremy Irons, David Thewlis, Brendan Gleeson, Marton Csokas, Liam Neeson, Ghassan Massoud, medieval, sword and sandal, epic, historiacl drama, knights, knights templar, religious, jerusalem

Balian’s influence between the opposing forces and how it changes his life becomes the integral focus of Kingdom of Heaven. There is a lot of talk about God’s will. And, both sides, Muslims and Christians employ the war waging excuse that God is on their side. After all they say, “to kill an infidel is not murder, it is the path to heaven.”  Even after a thousand years it is the same old story. And the beat goes on.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, Kingdom Of Heaven, Ridley Scott, William Monahan, Branko Lustig, Lisa Ellzey, Terry Needham, John Mathieson, Arthur Max, Harry Gregson-Williams, Janty Yates, Dody Dorn, Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Jeremy Irons, David Thewlis, Brendan Gleeson, Marton Csokas, Liam Neeson, Ghassan Massoud, medieval, sword and sandal, epic, historiacl drama, knights, knights templar, religious, jerusalem

But, what I like about this film is that it doesn’t take sides.  Since 911 Muslims and their religion have been easy target for non-believers and vice versa.  However, Kingdom of Heaven takes an evenhanded view of the claim for righteousness and God, depicting the Muslims and their view on equal grounds as the Crusading Christians. A standout is Ghassan Massoud as Saladin, leader of the Muslim army, who demands the audience’s attention with his charismatic presence whenever he is on the screen.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, Kingdom Of Heaven, Ridley Scott, William Monahan, Branko Lustig, Lisa Ellzey, Terry Needham, John Mathieson, Arthur Max, Harry Gregson-Williams, Janty Yates, Dody Dorn, Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Jeremy Irons, David Thewlis, Brendan Gleeson, Marton Csokas, Liam Neeson, Ghassan Massoud, medieval, sword and sandal, epic, historiacl drama, knights, knights templar, religious, jerusalem

Orlando Bloom, once again suited up in period garb he has become accustomed to (as in Troy, Pirates of the Caribbean and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy) is definitely easy on the eyes.  But, as the lead, which requires a demanding persona, a strong figure to lead the people, he falls a bit short. Adding twenty pounds to his slim frame doesn’t cut it. He isn’t a bad actor, just not as heavy hitting as say, Russell Crowe, would have been in this role, if you get my drift. Nevertheless, Balian, as written, is portrayed by Bloom as a man who walks in the footsteps of his father, trying to emulate his ideals.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, Kingdom Of Heaven, Ridley Scott, William Monahan, Branko Lustig, Lisa Ellzey, Terry Needham, John Mathieson, Arthur Max, Harry Gregson-Williams, Janty Yates, Dody Dorn, Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Jeremy Irons, David Thewlis, Brendan Gleeson, Marton Csokas, Liam Neeson, Ghassan Massoud, medieval, sword and sandal, epic, historiacl drama, knights, knights templar, religious, jerusalem

While Kingdom of Heaven is a bit long and has moments of blood splattering violence and decapitations, the overall visual look makes for another achievement on a grand scale by filmmaker Ridley Scott.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, Kingdom Of Heaven, Ridley Scott, William Monahan, Branko Lustig, Lisa Ellzey, Terry Needham, John Mathieson, Arthur Max, Harry Gregson-Williams, Janty Yates, Dody Dorn, Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Jeremy Irons, David Thewlis, Brendan Gleeson, Marton Csokas, Liam Neeson, Ghassan Massoud, medieval, sword and sandal, epic, historiacl drama, knights, knights templar, religious, jerusalem

The message brings up a key issue about religion. “Heaven” says a lot about beliefs versus actions stating that what is in your heart and mind, and what you do is of most importance.  Whatever shortcomings might exist in the script, Scott  “faithfully” succeeds in getting that point across.