In 1184 a young blacksmith, Balian, finds that he is the illegitimate son of a crusader knight, and joins his band on its way to Jerusalem. In a minor skirmish the knight is killed but Balian carries on to Jerusalem, where he joins the court and restores the lands he has inherited. The young man falls for the king of Jerusalem’s sister (who is actually married to a Knight Templar) and is required by the king who is dying of leprosy to protect her and the city. However after the king’s death the Templars make war with the Muslims, resulting finally in the seige of Jerusalem and Balian being forced to become the leader of the defenders.
Scenes in the blacksmith’s village including a violent killing. A whole lot of minor skirmishes and major battles, with a great deal of blood being spattered about. Some intrigue in the court of Baldwin who wears a silver face mask to disguise his disfigurements. Balian improves his family estate, gaining the loyalty of his supporters. He gets together with the king’s sister, the scene tastefully opaque. Finally it all comes together as Saladin beseiges Jerusalem.
One of the critics said that Olando Bloom performs as if he is a stand-in for the star, and is waiting for his arrival. Cruel, but pretty well true, since everything seems somehow bigger than he is. Apparently the intent was for a much longer film, and the theatrical release was a studio cut leading the director to dissociate himself from it and to put forward his own 194 minute version. Nevertheless it is well worth watching for the stunning battle scenes, some of which feature hundreds of horses galloping at high speed across the landscape.
|Duration||2h 24m||Rating (UK)||15|
|Source of story||A riff on actual historical events.|
|Starring||Michael Sheen, David Thewlis, Liam Neeson, Phillip Glenister, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Marton Csokas, Eva Green, Brendan Cleeson, Jeremy Irons, Edward Norton, Ian Glen|
|Additional Info||Some Muslim organisations condemned the film without seeing it, but it is generally thought that it was an even handed presentation, the real villains possibly being the Knights Templar.|