QUICKIE: Kingdom of Heaven (Ridley Scott, 2005)

In a time when film mimics film, when movies fall victim to expectation, when audiences' craving to experience the next renewal of their previous heroes, villians, conflicts and so on, Kingdom of Heaven stands alone. Instead of doing what so many movies are doing, manifesting sub-culture and immitating the past to coerce people to love them, Kingdom presents the significant events of Balian's (Orlando Bloom) life in a fashion that makes sense for the story. Staged here are the important substances, not fabricated yarns gasping for adulation. People coming out for Kingdom with hopes of a realistic Lord of the Rings or at least a non-stop medieval action drama (as there have been plenty, I'm sure, due to the film's self-defeating advertising campaign) will most likely be disappointed. This is a carefully paced, challenging film.

I will say that the storyline is awfully difficult to follow - if you don't already know the history, you may easily become lost as I did. This is my sole qualm, as although I had a hard time following, everything else was spectacular, and I not only agreed with, but admired the hero and his personal quest for internal peace. Not only does he deal with taking up his father's position as Baron, he questions religion and has an open view for humanity. I could relate to Balian, and that, teamed with Scott's eye for quality scenes, kept me very interested in his progress.

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