Beautiful sweeping landscapes, an epic historical tale of Jerusalem and deep characterisation are ways to sum up Kingdom Of Heaven. Orlando Bloom being a boring sod is another. Damn you, Bloom!
Orlando Bloom plays a solid side character in some films, but putting him down for a lead role is suicide. He isn’t a particularly terrible actor, just a bland one making a protagonist hard to get behind. In Kingdom Of Heaven he plays Balian of Ibelin who is a great blacksmith turned knight after he runs off to Jerusalem after murdering his brother. He tries to be a perfect knight, one who is caring and kind. But he comes across as a bit of a bore. He doesn’t really steal any scenes and seems to be just there, even if the things he’s doing are the most important. He completely unravels all the hard work done by the set designers and director. He should stick to being the elf.
The story follows historical events and has the Templars in Jerusalem up to no good, attacking Muslims to try to spark a war. With the peace loving king with leprosy in charge though, war ain’t happening. So we get a spot of romance with Balian and Princess Sibylla (Eva Green) while we wait for him to pop his clogs. It’s thanks to the rather maniacal Raymond (Jeremy Irons) who isn’t loved by everyone, war begins and it is up to Balian to protect the people. It questions religion and shows us a loose version of what took place, it is just a shame none of the characters are lovable enough to care for. It is nice to see the majestic locations though, and it takes its time to show the motives to all the main characters, even if none of them have that spark to make them feel truly alive.
Kingdom Of Heaven is a beautiful movie hampered by poor casting which saps away the drama. They should have digitally removed Bloom for the director’s cut and replaced him with someone who knows how to rally knights and respond to the evils trying to cause a peaceful nation problems.