Best Wife Ever here has used the unfortunate time away from Tom to preview movies to make up for her loneliness. In the last week I went to see Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven and Sidney Pollack’s The Interpreter.
Sydney Pollack is one of my favorite directors and B-list actors. (Tootsie, of course, is Exhibit A for his acting.) He has done an impressive job with a story that makes the UN setting a character in itself while also showing us how seemingly isolated problems like genocide and dictatorship abroad can quickly become US problems when ignored or dealt with in only simple terms. Sean Penn plays a foreign dignitary’s security officer assigned to investigate Nicole Kidman’s charge that she overheard a plot to kill a visiting African dictator accused of genocide. Both deliver impressive performances. The movie takes the audience through the intricacies of a fictitious African country that fought colonialism only to find its freedom fighter turn against his own people. That story is told as the current mystery unfolds at the UN. Unfortunately I felt suckered into a trite and unlikely climax followed by a supposedly happy ending that didn’t deliver. The audience would have been better served had the movie presented more profound questions about the world today. However, there is enough thought and entertainment to make an enjoyable movie. Not a must see, but well worth the popcorn.
Kingdom of Heaven invites us to picture Orlando Bloom in medieval costume standing on the edge of a fortress making inspiring speeches to new recruits about to receive on the job training; shouting military orders; and flinging swords and bows and arrows while fighting for the good of man against all odds. Sound familiar? I think I liked this scene better when it was called the Battle of Helms Deep. Don’t worry — if you get tired of watching LOTR, you can watch another Ridley Scott movie, Gladiator, instead of this one. Bloom’s character is offered the opportunity to be the heir of a royal line, fights a few gruesome battles in stop frame fashion and overcomes an assassination attempt from the bloodline heir. And finally, we are told all of this is not for just the fighting, it’s for “the people.” Scott deserves some credit for portraying a complex view of the Middle East and Europe in the 1100s, and linking those politics to a few modern themes. But I missed the realism and historical motivation of Gladiator and the personal relationships of LOTR. I got lost in side stories seemingly designed to link the story together but which in hindsight didn’t relate to anything. (One sword fighting lesson from Jedi Master Liam Neeson transforms Orlando from simple blacksmith to a wise and skillful knight; and a chance encounter with a future enemy is the result of a shipwreck that seems out of place with the larger story.) However, if you like historical adventure, a few good battle scenes and Orlando Bloom, you got yourself a movie that beats TV any day.
Hmmm … historical adventure, a few good battles, and Orlando Bloom? Sounds like Pirates of the Caribbean too!
I’ll second that TV comment. I know from experience that hotel TV gets mighty dull after a while. (I watched more “Lilo & Stitch: The Series” in Virginia than I ever have in my life.)
Thanks, sweetie! Unfortunately, I think this might commit you to reviewing Revenge of the Sith, Batman Begins, and Fantastic Four….