Kingdom of Heaven

Saw Kingdom of Heaven for the second time last night.

The movie tells the story of Balian, a grief-stricken French blacksmith to goes to Jerusalem in search of redemption and purpose in life only to find that the knights there don’t know what they’re fighting for. Idealism has given way to greed and shame and there are hardly any heroes left. Yet Balian finds his reason for being and does his utmost to see his duty done.

Kingdom of Heaven has a great message to tell, of the futility of religious fanaticism, and how one person can do a much. It is beautifully shot with some remarkable action sequences (though comparisons abound to Lord of the Rings).

Yet something is missing. The movie flows in a logical manner from A to Z but at certain points I get the feeling that scenes were cut which could have helped flesh out the story a bit more. In one scene, something terrible is about to befall Saladin’s sister. As one of the knights approaches her, Terai turned to me and asked “Who is she?”. The answer came from another knight. Watch it and you’ll see that it’s awkward, as if the Ridley Scott, the screenwriter is pandering to the audience with a kind of “Shit, perhaps the viewers need a little background info!”

Instead what we have is something of a rollercoaster ride. Thrilling for the half minute (or 1 and a half hours) that you’re on it but later you’re left feeling unsettled. Things happened at a quick pace that it feels unbelievable. I just didn’t get how Balian could go from being a simple blacksmith to a master military tactician!

From this article I learned that nearly an hour was cut from the film, an hour which focused on character development. Heck! If that additional hour was there perhaps the movie would have been more moving and more meaningful.