Historical epik “Kingdom of Heaven“. What does a cross life-giving?
Englishman Ridley Scott - one of those few cinematographers who throughout almost all career manage not to fall face down in dirt. Certainly, Scott had also obvious lapses, like recent “Robin of Goode“, and the projects underestimated by public, like the fairy tale for adults “Legend“ and the thriller “The one Who Protects Me“.
Nevertheless Scott in Hollywood is the person dear, and any can envy his filmography, even the most venerable director or the producer.
Despite the fact that, many remember and love its classical movies in a fantasy genre (“Stranger“, “Running on an edge“) and the fighter (“A black rain“, “A black hawk“), all - there began Ridley Scott with historical subject. His picture “Duelists“ with Keith Kerredin and Harvey Keitel`s participation is considered one of the most successful debuts in modern cinema. What is confirmed, by the way, by the corresponding award of the Cannes Film Festival.
Thanks to epic “Gladiator“ in 2000 Scott was very close to the first Oscar, but, alas, film academicians estimated the movie above direction, having given a gold figurine to Stephen Soderbergh for politically correct, but tiresome “Traffic“. 5 years later the director returned to historical blockbusters again and presented to the audience “Kingdom of Heaven“ about which and it would be desirable to tell now.
… End of the 12th century. An era of temporary calm between the Second and Third Crusades. Opposition of the king of Jerusalem Balduin IV and his main opponent in fight for the Sacred city, the sultan Saladin, reached a critical phase. The fatal illness - leprosy - undermines the last forces of the powerful governor who within several years avoided large bloody battles with Muslims. Around the dying king the gang aggressive and lusting power and glories of barons among whom mad in the hatred to incorrect Renaults there are de Chatilion and artful Gui de Louzinian having the husband to the sister of Balduin, Sibylle gathers.
The baron Godfrey de Ibelin who arrived to the historical homeland, invites the illegitimate son Balian to join him on royal service. The smith Balian who recently lost the beloved wife and the juvenile son first doubts, but hope to find rest and to atone for the sins in sacred lands, all - decides to leave a familiar spot. After Godfrey`s death Balian receives from wounds his title, lands and enemies in the person of de Chatilion and Gui de Louziniana, it is not pleasant to whom that the simple smith from a remote place became unexpectedly close to the king. And the fact that his young wife Sibylla does not hide the interest in the pretty young man absolutely saddens Gui`s thoughts.
Meanwhile the king Balduin, having been tired to struggle with an illness, dies then barons openly begin to call for fight with Saladin. To provoke the last, Chatilion organizes attack on a trade caravan of Muslims and kills the sultan`s sister. After death of the nephew Balduin, the young son of Sibylla in whom leprosy was found too de Louzinian becomes the king of Jerusalem and launches bloody war. However neither he, nor his Templars will be able to resist to huge army of saratsin and uncontrollable rage of the sultan who is ready to raze Jerusalem to the ground, but to deprive of Christians of hope for “Kingdom of Heaven“ …
Trouble with these historical epika. Always there will be those who will argue furiously that no Godfrey actually existed, without speaking already about Balian. And if were, then precisely left much less noticeable mark in the history, than authors of “Kingdom of Heaven“ Ridley Scott and his screenwriter William Monakhen try to show. But, friends as many a true word is spoken in jest, and in Scott`s tape there are also sendings to real events and heroes, and the fictional characters urged not to allow that the large-scale Hollywood blockbuster fell to the level of the documentary chronicle.
Authors of a picture, certainly, did not fail to use truly cinema templates. Will be to you and ardent speeches to residents of the besieged city, and the artful villains spinning a web of plots, both noble enemies, and not killed main characters. It seems that at Balian (Orlando Blum) here - on a back wings here will arise, so he is through a positive and pious young man. Scott was forced to divide the world on black and white because blockbusters do not suffer significance. Therefore the main villain will periodically behave as the medieval street mugger while our Balian will patiently take down all pokes and offenses. To turn other cheek is so Christianly.
The part of the events described in a picture really took place. Temporary disagreements it is not counted. To whom what business that actually real king Balduin died for few years before Jerusalem fell. In the last years of life he completely went blind and hardly went. And could hardly jump quickly on a horse and head a campaign suprotiv Saladin. Authors invented a silver mask for greater effect too though this moment in a plot is beaten not bad.
It is necessary to tell separate thanks to the screenwriter William Monakhen. The director`s version of the movie which is longer than theatrical option, neither more nor less, for the whole more than 40 minutes came across to me hands. Producers did not allow to distribute the three-hour movie to Scott. Also were, from the point of view, are right because even in a cut form the picture hardly - hardly paid back expenses and that already outside the USA. But in the director`s version many nuances and details which lack brought turmoil become clear. The initial plan of authors of “Kingdom of Heaven“ as it becomes clear, bore in itself more dramatic nature and bitterness, than that fighter which we could contemplate at movie theaters.
And what remarkable actors once again work for Scott! Many directors are ready to sell soul for such powerful cast. Orlando Blum looks on their background exactly as has to: the boy who incidentally got out of a sandbox to play adult games. Here both magnificent Liam Neeson (Godfrey), and Jeremy Irons, and David Tyyulis. In camp of nominal villains - the brilliant Irish actor Brendan Gleason (de Chatilion) and his colleague from New Zealand Martin Chokash (the Hungarian by origin). And also Syrian Hasan Masoud (Saladin), Frenchwoman Eva Green and, of course, Edward Norton. It was necessary to the last heavier than the others, it had a role of the king Balduin. But Norton, even being in a mask, managed to play only one look and gestures the partners. As they say, you will not hide talent.
It is already the fourth collaboration of Scott and the operator John Matheson. After “Gladiator“ it was rather easy for Matheson to understand visual requirements of the director therefore the picture turned out just smart. From snow-covered, cold paints of France to bright, warm colors of Jerusalem. Add to it 14 thousand suits, majestic scenery, difficult special effects and spectacular battle scenes.
It is hard to say why Americans so low estimated the next work of the director. Especially, considering that the genre of the epic historical fighter is purely Hollywood invention. It is possible because it was much simpler and safer to empathize the disgraced Roman legionary Maksimus from “Gladiator“, than to apprehend the fact that Christian crusades were the act of blind belief and, in fact, genocide of Muslims. It was difficult to accept a noble image of the sultan Saladin and to realize that not forgiveness and redemption were eager crusaders on the Holy Land, and the power, lands and gold. And that the knights urged to protect the disadvantaged and to act as an example of piety and nobility turned into “gentlemen of good luck“, fire and a sword burning out incorrect for the sake of false church postulates.