Posts Tagged Kingdom of Heaven

Film & DVD Review: Kingdom of Heaven

Country: USA / Spain / UK
Language: English / Arabic / German
Certification: Australia:MA / Canada:13+ (Quebec) / Canada:14A (Alberta) / Canada:18A (British Columbia) / Finland:K-15 / France:U / Germany:12 / Hong Kong:IIB / Ireland:15A / Italy:T / Japan:PG-12 / Norway:15 / Singapore:NC-16 / South Korea:15 / Spain:13 / UK:15 / USA:R
Duration: 145 min

Reviewed by Jacqueline Sharp

First of all I’d like to say well done to Ridley Scott! He has directed a very beautiful movie. It held my attention all the way through. Ridley won five Oscars with Gladiator. His other successes include Blade Runner, Thelma and Louise and Black Hawk Down.

Ridley’s Kingdom of Heaven is a beautiful movie, it is full of passion. The passion of one mans journey searching for peace, and in the process coming up against obstacles and power plays.

The movie has dimension, colour and balance; the balance being that the battle scenes do not overshadow the script, character development and personal scenes.

The battle scenes are not boring or long-winded. They are well scripted and have an intelligent view of strategy and tactics. They draw you in, involving you emotionally in the highs and lows of a battle with a purpose.

Scott, as director has painted a picture – and what a terrific masterpiece it is! Kingdom of Heaven is energetic, colourful and vibrant!!!

Ridley Scott certainly had a clear vision of how he wanted this movie to be. His drive and determination will hopefully gain him some credit in the form of film awards, which is any director’s icing on the cake.

Overall the acting is great! There is a rich mixture of well-known actors, such as; Orlando Bloom, Liam Neeson, Iain Glen, Jeremy Irons, David Thewlis and Edward Norton. One relative newcomer to watch out for in the future would be Eva Green, who played Sibylla – she was amazing in her part.

Orlando Bloom, (Balian), is terrific in his role, in part as Balian he plays a sensitive man, not an aggressive man, but just a man searching for peace with god. As it says in the Old Testament: “You will find Me, if only you seek Me wholeheartedly” Jeremiah 29:13.

Balian on his journey tries to come to terms with his past and the death of his wife committing suicide. Along the way he meets up with his long lost father, Godfrey, (Liam Neeson). His father was a well-respected Knight who served King Baldwin, (Edward Norton).

Balian takes over his father’s hereditary title as Knight after his death.

He has also inherited the role of serving the King, and helping the people. In the process he becomes a Warrior and saviour to the realm. He fights to save Christian Jerusalem from falling prey to the Muslims (as he sees it). He also falls in love with a married woman, who just happens to be Queen to his rival enemy Guy de Lusignan, (Marton Csokas).

The castle scenes are impressive. The production team used Loarre Castle in Northern Spain for these. Spain proved to be a popular choice with the producers with filming taking place in Segovia, Sevilla and Avila. The Moroccan desert was their ideal choice to replicate Jerusalem itself in Quarzazate. Amazing! It’s hard to believe that Jerusalem could be recreated in such seemingly authentic detail.

Kingdom of Heaven cost 75 million to make! I say it was money well spent. The armour, medieval costumes and settings are a joy and they will captivate you. One of the aspects that make this movie so good is its sheer splendour.

I loved the fact that there was a mixture of Muslim and English actors: the mix of accents and dialects give credibility.

I have to say that King Richard Lionheart, had a very minor role at the end of the movie. Perhaps he should have had a slightly bigger role in the main part of the story.

Academics and Scholars will of course debate the movie for its historical accuracy. It has caused some controversy. If you want my opinion go with an open mind. I have not taken a biased view about the historical facts and give you the choice to gather information. Whether you choose to check it out before, after or not at all is up to you. All I’ll say, as a reviewer is to give this movie credibility for the acting, directing, costumes, music, photography and settings.

I highly recommend this movie!!!


  • 20th Century Fox, (USA)
  • Scott Free Productions, (GB)
  • Kanzaman S.A, (ES) DIRECTOR Ridley Scott


    William Monahan


  • Martin Hancock, (Gravedigger)
  • Michael Sheen, (Priest)
  • Nathalie Cox, (Balian’s Wife)
  • Eriq Ebouaney, (Firuz)
  • Jouko Ahola, (Odo)
  • David Thewlis, (Hospitaler)
  • Liam Neeson, (Godfrey)
  • Philip Glenister, (Squire)
  • Orlando Bloom, (Balian)
  • Bronson Webb, (Apprentice)
  • Kevin McKidd, (English Sergeant)
  • Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, (Village Sheriff)
  • Steven Robertson, (Angelic Priest)
  • Marton Csokas, (Guy de Lusignan)
  • Alexander Siddig, (Nasir)
  • Michael Shaeffer, (Young Sergeant)
  • Eva Green, (Sibylla)
  • Brendan Gleeson, (Reynald)
  • Nasser Memarzia, (Muslim Grandee)
  • Jeremy Irons, (Tiberias)
  • Jon Finch, (Jerusalem)
  • Edward Norton, (King Baldwin)
  • Lotfi Yahya Jedidi, (Old Ibelin Housekeeper) , (as Lofti Yahya Jedidi)
  • Samira Draa, (Sibylla’s Maid)
  • Ulrich Thomsen, (Templar Master)
  • Matthew Rutherford, (Rider)
  • Michael Fitzgerald, (Humphrey)
  • Ghassan Massoud, (Saladin)
  • Khaled El Nabaoui, (Mullah (as Khaled Nabawy)
  • Karim Salah, (Saracen Messenger (as Karim Saleh)
  • Shane Attwooll, (Reynald’s Templar Knight)
  • Giannina Facio, (Saladin’s Sister)
  • Emilio Doorgasingh, (Saracen Engineer)
  • Peter Cant, (Peasant Boy)
  • Angus Wright, (Richard’s Knight)
  • Iain Glen, (Richard Coeur de Lion) FURTHER READING Go to Jan Hosten 2004 article, Movie Distorts Crusader and Templar History. This article is a must read!

    Contributer’s to Jan’s article are; Dr Jonathan Phillips, Lecturer in History at London University and author of The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople. Amin Maalouf, French historian and author of The Crusades Through Arab Eyes. Professor Riley-Smith, Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Cambridge University, and author of The Oxford History of the Crusades Separately to Jan’s article, you may wish to check out an interview with Paolo Morisi and Professor Riley-Smith.

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    Interview: Eva Green – Kingdom Of Heaven

    Courting Controversy Green is the new black
    Eva Green – Kingdom Of Heaven.
    Copy: Lórien Haynes

    When Bernardo Bertolucci hand picked French ingénue Eva Green to star in his sexually controversial film The Dreamers, he described her as ‘so beautiful. It’s indecent.’

    Now the 24 year old daughter of French actress Marlene Jobert, co-stars with Orlando Bloom in the first blockbuster of 2005; Ridley Scott’s crusade epic Kingdom of Heaven. And again, with its depiction of Muslim and Christian conflict, Green finds herself at the center of a celluloid controversy.

    In the film Green plays Princess Sybilla, Jerusalem royalty, who captivates Bloom’s blacksmith Balian. But will the model face of Armani’s Summer 2005 campaign [Green’s sideline] equally captivate the movie going public? We met the spring chicken to see what she has to say for herself…

    So Eva, how did you get the part of Sybilla in Kingdom of Heaven?

    Because I’m very good. No, it was a long tough process. The studio backing the film didn’t know me – I was just ‘a French girl,’ an unknown – so I had to have five screen tests at Pinewood. But thanks to Ridley’s support, they finally went for the fresh and the new.

    Were you nervous about the prospect of starting filming?

    My God yes. I was shooting a nineteenth century French movie [Arsene Lupin] at the time and was only hired for Kingdom of Heaven a week before shooting started. There was no time to prepare – and I was supposed to sound British! Five minutes later, I was on set in Morocco confronted by an enormous crew and a fantastic cast. I ended up pinching myself every day. It didn’t feel real.

    Did you feel the same about working with Orlando?

    No. He’s charming and straightforward. We had one day of rehearsing together and he immediately put me at my ease. I think he’s just a normal guy who can’t quite cope with being a big star or with his huge female fan base. But I think this role is good for him. As Balian, he’s turning from a young romantic lead into a rugged hero. From boy to man.

    But we heard he had to wear a fake chest wig for this?

    Absolutely not – though he did have three days worth of growth on his face. It was me who had the fake chest wig.

    Yes, it’s a prerequisite of all proper princesses. But is your princess a Barbie or a Boudicca?

    Ridley’s women always have a dark side, a strong side – so, thankfully, I’m not simply love interest.

    How was working with Ridley?

    He’s a gentleman. He never raises his voice or shows tension or anxiety. But he has power and he expresses a great deal with his eyes. I found the fact that he trusts you as an actor really makes you feel liberated.

    What’s your favorite film of his to date?

    The first movie of his that struck me was Legend. It didn’t entirely work but it was magical. I loved the whole pre-raphelite aesthetic, the vibrant colors, the fluid material. I thought of it going into Kingdom of Heaven – the whole idea of being a princess in a fairytale.

    How was the shoot in Morocco – a nightmare?

    We were in the desert for three months and it was like going back centuries. Time has stood still and nothing has changed there; there are the same smells, the same food, the same cultural aspects as existed in the 11th century.

    Anything funny happen on set?

    Yes, if you consider being the only girl on set funny. The great thing about that though, was all the men took care of me.

    I bet they did! How exactly?

    Well it meant I went to the bar a lot! One night, we had a birthday party for one of the assistants and started singing national songs. So I got up and sang a French one and Michael Sheen [who plays Bloom’s brother] sang one in Welsh. THAT was funny – but I guess you had to be there.

    Do you feel the film will stir up religious controversy?

    Unfortunately yes. Everyone’s already talking about that.

    How does it compare to the US uproar over the sexually explicit nature of The Dreamers?

    Well that was quite paradoxical because in America there is so much violence, both on the streets and on the screen. They think nothing of it. Yet I think they are frightened by sex. With Kingdom it’s different issues. There was a recent article in the New York Times saying it shows Arabic people in a bad light. But to me the film says that war is futile and that people will find love irrespective of race. The title itself describes Jerusalem as somewhere where all races live together harmoniously.

    Did you research these issues prior to filming?

    I read Crusades Through Arab Eyes and went to the Arab Institute in Paris because I wanted to be aware of both sides of the argument. And I hope this film will do good rather than bad – obviously.

    There was rumor of a terrorist attack on set – was that true?

    I was in Paris at the time but all I heard was that it was a bad joke – a firework going off. Unfortunately everyone thought it was a terrorist explosion. Thank God it wasn’t true.

    And to finish off on a far fluffier level, you are the face of Emporio Armani 2005 – what does that entail?

    As the image for Armani Spring Summer 2005 I’m lucky enough to get a certain amount of credit for clothes. And I love Armani – I’m wearing him right now – he’s so chic and simple.

    So bottom line – model or actress – which one’s it gonna be?

    Guess! Acting of course.

    Kingdom of Heaven is released on May 6th.

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