More 4 · Action · 14 Mar 2011 · by: More 4

Ridley Scott's epic historical drama is set in the 12th century at the Crusader defence of Jerusalem. Orlando Bloom plays Balian de Ibelin, a village blacksmith and the illegitimate son of Godfrey de Ibelin (Liam Neeson), a crusader knight returned from the Holy Land. He persuades Balian that riches await those who go to defend the city and its Christian King Baldwin (Edward Norton) against the attack of Saladin (Ghassan Massoud), who seeks to win the city back for the Muslim faith. Balian, as well as falling for Baldwin's sister Sibylla (Eva Green), finds himself a power broker between the two factions, with the fate of the city in his hands.

As he showed with Gladiator and Black Hawk Down , Scott knows how to balance spectacular battle scenes with very human emotions. The characters in Kingdom of Heaven are never ciphers but complex; Balian is no committed Christian but a pragmatist who sees Jerusalem as a prize that need not be defended at all costs, while Saladin is similarly portrayed as a complex warrior eager for victory but aware of the dilemmas he faces. Scott and Monahan stick closely to the historical facts (most of the chief protagonists are based on historical figures) and the siege of Jerusalem is as spectacularly satisfying as that of Helm's Deep in The Two Towers .


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