BY CHRISTOPHER STAMM
GUEST MOVIE REVIEWER
Kingdom of Heaven (the Director’s Cut) (Available on multiple streaming platforms)
This film is rated R – for language, violence, and sexual situations
Once again, life got in the way of my movie-going experience, and I did not make it to the cinema this week. But, as always, I have one up my sleeve for you to consider.
Kingdom of Heaven, directed by Ridley Scott, arguably the greatest Director of my generation, came out back in 2005. And I will be the first to tell you, this movie stank like a deer on the side of the highway in July – muddled, confusing, choppy, and it made no sense. So I walked out thinking I had been skillfully parted from my hard-earned money.
Then something happened. Ridley Scott gave an interview and discussed how the studio had final cut and had chopped it to pieces to get more showings each day in the cinema and mentioned that a Director’s cut was on the way.
In 2007, the Director’s cut showed up and, with trepidation, I watched this version of Kingdom of Heaven. And this time, I was simply blown away. This one was significantly longer – by almost an hour – but this was a completely different movie than the one I saw in the cinema.
Kingdom of Heaven (the Director’s cut) tells the story of Balian de Ibelin, a blacksmith who becomes a Baron who becomes the defender of Jerusalem during the Crusades. It is a story of honor, love, deep religious conviction, murder, and glory, and few films have managed to do what Kingdom of Heaven does – to present the Crusades from both perspectives while showing mutual respect for both Islam and Christianity.
Packed full of the who’s who of Hollywood actors, from Liam Neeson to Orlando Bloom, Kingdom of Heaven is an epic masterpiece from Ridley Scott, and it holds a place in my top 10 movies of all time.
But as the man said, caveat emptor (buyer beware): Make sure you watch the Director’s cut version with the run time of 3 hours and 13 minutes and not the theatrical version with the run time of 2 hours 20 minutes. Trust me on this.
Kingdom of Heaven is available on multiple streaming platforms and gets a full five out of five stars because it is a masterpiece of storytelling (the Director’s cut version, that is).