Ideology of Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Kingdom of Heaven

The great irony of Ridley Scott's 2005 film "Kingdom of Heaven" is that its central argument is calculated to seem inoffensive to contemporary audiences, but does so by being historically inaccurate. I take the central message of the film to be what Liam Neeson says approximately 22 into the film, as the ailing Crusader Godfrey of Ibelin (a somewhat fictionalized depiction of Godfrey of Bouillon) tells his son why he will be journeying from rural France to the Holy Land. The son, played by Orlando Bloom, asks his Crusader dad what the Crusader King of Jerusalem could possibly ask him to accomplish. Neeson, as the ailing Crusader, responds with the speech that gives the film its title:

"A better world than has ever been seen. A kingdom of conscience, a kingdom of heaven. There is peace between Christian and Muslim, we live together. Or, between Saladin and the King, we try. Did you think that lay at the end of Crusade? It does. My son, you are all that survives me -- do not disappoint me."

The phrase "Kingdom of Heaven" is used elsewhere in the film -- Raynald of Chatillon (Brendan Gleeson) will employ it in flip fashion as he is debating tactics with Raymond III of Tripoli (Jeremy Irons) -- but this is its first, most salient, and least ironic usage. As a view of the historical aims of the Crusades, it is, of course, sheerest nonsense.

Scott's film is a product of its own historical moment: four years after September 11 and two after the 2003 Iraq invasion. This generated enough interest in the Islamic world to make a film about the Crusades viable, but also required Scott to tread carefully -- George W. Bush had used the word "Crusade" to describe his war on terror in the immediate aftermath of September 11,…

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