BY CHRISTOPHER STAMM
kingdom of paradise (the Director’s Cut) (Available on several streaming platforms)
This film is rated R – for language, violence and sexual situations
Once again life got in the way of my movie experience and I didn’t go to the movies this week. But, as always, I have one up my sleeve for you to consider.
kingdom of paradise, directed by Ridley Scott, arguably the greatest director of my generation, was released in 2005. And I’ll be the first to tell you, this film stunk like a deer on the side of the highway in July – confusing, confusing , jerky , and it made no sense. So I walked out thinking I had been cleverly separated from my hard-earned money.
Then something happened. Ridley Scott gave an interview and explained how the studio made the final cut and cut it into pieces to get more screenings each day in theaters and mentioned that a director’s cut is on the way.
In 2007, the director’s cut appeared, and with trepidation I watched this version of kingdom of paradise. And this time I was simply blown away. This one was significantly longer – almost an hour – but it was a completely different film than the one I saw in the cinema.
kingdom of paradise (the director’s cut) tells the story of Balian de Ibelin, a blacksmith turned baron who becomes the defender of Jerusalem during the Crusades. It’s a story of honor, love, deep religious conviction, murder and glory, and few movies have managed to do what Kingdom of Heaven does – show the Crusades from both angles while showing a mutual respect for Islam and Christianity.
Filled with the who’s who of Hollywood actors, from Liam Neeson to Orlando Bloom, kingdom of paradise is an epic masterpiece by Ridley Scott, and it holds a spot 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 a running time of 3 hours and 13 minutes and not the theatrical version with a running time of 2 hours 20 minutes. Trust me.
kingdom of paradise is available on multiple streaming platforms and gets five out of five stars for being a masterwork of storytelling (i.e. the director’s cut version).