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Thursday, May 22, 2008

KINGDOM OF HEAVEN (2005)

Helmer Ridley Scott’s battle-logged view of the Crusades makes a feint or two drawing parallels between Jerusalem then (12th century) & now, but the personalities are so crudely drawn (Jeremy Irons has the sole nuanced role in a cast of thousands) that it’s best to ignore the speeches that sound as if Scott is running for Parliament on the Liberal Party line. Orlando Bloom, as cinema’s slimmest blacksmith, can’t help looking like Matthew Perry, but his growth into the last noble warrior knight and defender of the people is unconvincing. Couldn’t there have been a local ‘Cassandra’ to teach Bloom those military tricks that help save Jerusalem or a ‘groundling’/servant to root for at the mass knighting ceremony? The fault probably lies with Scott who, as ever, pulls off characteristically fluid staging and visual panache scene by scene, yet can’t get his narrative to run. GLADIATOR’s a pretty overrated pic, but its corny plot line suited him better.

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