Thursday, May 12, 2005

on kingdom of heaven

{hello, i'm the other friendly co-poster.}

A Jerusalem where everyone speaks the language of self-satisfied libertarianism is no Jerusalem. Where are the Jews, for one? Lost beneath the swirling two-dimensionality of Scott’s execution. The protagonist's utilitarian philosophy – save the people, leave the stones - fails to succeed, fails to broker more than a temporary peace and a feeble wonder in the minds of the audience.

Something is rotten in the kingdom of conscience. Wolfgang Petersen tried and failed to comment on the Iraq War with Troy, his utterly boybandish interpretation of the Iliad. Oliver Stone was certainly not smoking the right stuff when he drew his suicidally ludicrous parallel between Alexander and George Bush. Scott attempts to remedy this, it is true, and his message – that religion and history are not greater than human life – is a good and valuable thing in itself. But the sense of unease is pervasive. The ham-handed self-importance of it all clangs and clatters when, as the film itself states in an unbearably pompous epilogue, peace in the kingdom of heaven remains elusive a thousand years later. Kingdom isn’t even preaching to the choir; it’s rehashing the tunes and force-feeding it back to them.

Not in a wildly interesting fashion, even.

1 comment:

Aishwarya said...

Saw it today.
"Balian, I'm your father"

or better

"He says you are a liar! And he will fight you! Because you are a liar!"

Oh the cheesiness. Saladin was gloriously perfect though.

Oh, and you're right. "Fundamentalism bad. Humanism good." is a nice message, but..er..we know?