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Friday, May 13, 2011

Movie Review # 74 Arn: The Knight Templar (2007)

Release: 2007
Director: Peter Flinth
Jan Guillou (story)
Hans Gunnarsson (screenplay)

Joakim Nätterqvist

Sofia Helin

Stellan Skarsgård

Rotten Tomatoes: 61% Audience
IMDb: 6.4/10 Stars
Netflix: 4 Stars

Arn: The Knight Templar is a better movie than the Orlando Bloom Epic Kingdom of Heaven. Which does not say much as Kingdom of Heaven was generally panned as a awful movie. Where Kingdom of Heaven failed Arn: The Knight Templar succeeds in spades. As it is based on the trilogy of novels written by Jan Guillou a popular Swedish Author.

Arn is also based on the true story of Arn Magnusson who helped bring peace to a fractured country that eventually became Sweden. So this has a huge amount of positives going for it. With all of these it does not disappoint as it follows in the ways of similar epics like The Lord of Ring's or even John Woo's Red Cliff. With you falling in love with the characters and feeling what they feel.

They make you want to believe what it is on screen. They also have heart, emotion and give powerful performances not seen outside of major Hollywood movies usually. Thankfully that is changing with more movies getting the Hollywood treatment it is starting to make foreign films. Not only stand on par with the major studio releases. But in the eyes of this reviewer exceed them in story telling, book adaptation and heartfelt drama and action.

While Hollywood focuses on special effects and constant sequels. It has opened the door for the real movie makers to find homes outside of the Hollywood norm. Then make magical movies like this one. That only drive home how bad life was during the Crusades. But how awful the church was to humanity. They where evil people who followed not the word of Christ. But ruled with what they believed was the right way to rule.

Which was through tyranny, greed, and fear and this movie not only covers it. It covered it very well and it is shocking that Christianity even has lasted as long has it has. When you see how bad it was for humanity back then. No I am not knocking religion nor am I slamming believers. It is just that this movie makes you question your beliefs if you have any to begin with.

When you see how bad the Christians treat their fellow Christians in the name of the Lord. At the same time they do showcase the Muslims in a brighter light. Which is a good change of pace where Muslims are always the modern villains in today's society. Which is not the case. But sadly most are to stupid to see it that way.

But they don't and thankfully the writers kept to the story and didn't villainize the great Saladin. As he not only showed grace and honor. He showed true human compassion for Arn the man who not only saved his life. But a great warrior and wise man. It is this give and change perspective that is wonderful. As you see how the Holy Land is fought over and how both sides claim rights to Jerusalem.

But sadly unwilling to concede and share the holy land. As they both think only one side should have it. Which to this is still going on. Talk about Montague's vs Capulets stealing a line from Romeo and Juliet. The writers touch on this touchy subject and leave it as hopefully one day we can find peace. Which to this day we still have not. As generations of children are raised to hate another religion. All because it was what their ancestors did.

It is not right but it has happened. Now this movie strokes emotions like a good wind flames the fires. Which is a good thing. As it also provokes thought and ultimately contemplation of life and how we live it. Especially as we see Arn who fought for his freedom and his wife Cecilia fight for hers. Both of whom suffered at the hands of the Church. Yet still showed allegiance to it despite all that it had done to them.

It is this kind of faith that I do not have. At the same time it does provoke thought to me. As I see this everyday in my family and those who live for religion and their chosen God(s). I am happy for them as I am happy I saw this movie. Will it change my views on life no. But what it does do is change my views on cinema. As I search out more movies that are as spectacular and amazing as Arn: The Knight Templar.

 My Rating 4.5/5 Stars

Follow me @aikira21 on Twitter


  1. "where Muslims are always the modern villains in today's society. Which is not the case. But sadly most are to stupid to see it that way."

    islam is evil, whether or not there happen to be nice muslims

    But just wait until there are enough muslims in the west where they don't have to hide their ideological hate for non-muslims as commanded by mohammad

    btw, I liked the movie very much


  2. Christians during the Crusades/Middle ages weren't perfect, but the Muslims weren't either, they had no problem subjugating, murdering and using tyranny, greed an fear. Part of the reason the Crusaders were successful in taking over the Holy Land was internal fighting within the Muslims. This is history, and often ignored, especially by modern scholars and the film industry. Keep this in mind the next time you review a film set in this time period.

  3. Anonymous and R.Leon hit it on the head. I did enjoy this show though

  4. Errrrmmmm ... this was actually a fictional story about a man and a woman set in the time of the crusades NOT about the merits or otherwise of one religion over another - and the crusades were initiated by the Roman Catholic Church last time I looked - so Christians were invading the lands of the predominant religion (muslims) at that time which in the first and second crusades was around 1100-1150AD.

    Experts on the matter say that the excuse for the Holy War was that the infighting was disrupting the pilgramages to Jerusalem, and Christian piety eventually resulted in propaganda for war. The minority opinion that vengeance and forcible conversion to Christianity was the answer came from the papal lobby and anyone taking part could remit sins in cases of penance (as in the film) - this minority was the loudest and strongest voice so 200 and some years of holy war was waged against a weakened and less equipped force and caused the rift we still have today. At the time this was happening, the Roman Catholic Church was also fighting the West on religious grounds.

    Its a bit hypocritical to tar all in a religion with the same brush in this case. Extreme minorities are the problem, and the majorities who are tolerant and not causing a problem don't stamp out the minorities in their camp who are. Before you know it, majorities are swept up in minority rules and are in the same position as those who are targeted by the extremist minority ... there are a long list of examples in history.

    So what are you guys? Minority extremists who want violence and any excuse to cause it or, as the article suggests, "too stupid to see it that way"

    1. Um, no, this is a lot of hogwash. The Crusades weren't 'Christians invading Muslim lands', as these were Christian lands prior to Muslim armies taking them over. And Muslim armies were committing epic atrocities from the start - Muhammed himself oversaw the killing of 700 male prisoners and the enslavement of all the females and children at Medina. Further, Muslim armies invaded and seized most of Spain, and were stopped from continuing into Europe by Charles the Hammer at the Battle of Tours. Muslim armies also steadily encroached on Christian lands from the East, advancing steadily towards Constantinople. Then Muslims destroyed the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem and routinely harassed and killed Christians making pilgrimages to the Holy Land. Christian nobles didn't need to be told anything by the Pope - they themselves and their relatives and friends made pilgrimages to the Holy Land and experienced the attacks. The Pope would not have been able to convince them to Crusade if they did not have this first-hand experience, as the Crusades were ruinously expensive for the nobles involved (and hugely lethal).