Beautiful, moving film.
Like the great film, it's made with a great deal of visible affection both in front of and behind the camera.
The best films of this genre always show a path and provide a takeaway for being a better person.
It's the kind of movie you'll want to see a second time with someone who hasn't seen it yet, to remember what it was like to watch it for the first time.
On paper, Arn: The Knight Templar looks almost guaranteed to be an excellent movie. The story of the titular character is enough to get producers frothing at the mouth; he's a Swedish nobleman, raised in a monastery but trained to be a soldier who finds himself exiled to the Holy Land for twenty years. He fights in some of the most significant battles in the war for Jerusalem, meets the legendary Saladin, rises through the ranks and then loses it all and ultimately finds redemption through bloodshed and war. It's not surprising then that a film which promised to be the Swedish answer to Kingdom Of Heaven should attract such a large budget and several notable actors, so why then is it so rubbish?Well, if you're watching this in England on DVD or Netflix, the short answer is because it's actually two films crammed into one. Originally running at over four hours, it's now just shy over two and the end result inevitably feels rushed. Key scenes have been cut, supporting characters drop in and out of the film for seemingly no reason at all and years literally flash past in a matter of minutes. Why for example does Arn's father disappear without any explanation? Why is the incompetent Gerard De Ridefort suddenly made Lord Commander of the Knights Templar? Who is the Knight that can't take his eyes off Arn in the final climactic showdown? And perhaps most significantly of all, why in the name of heaven does Cecilia's sister claim Arn seduced her when her motivations are never established and it doesn't seem to benefit her in the slightest?With so many gaps in the narrative, it's left to the musical score to tell the story rather than the film itself and sadly, it does so constantly. The film is accompanied by a big, booming orchestral soundtrack that tells the audience when to feel sad, triumphant, nostalgic and it never, ever ends. There's barely a moment when the thunderous clarion call isn't blaring out the speakers and it isn't helped by the rather lacklustre battle scenes either. The arrows and mud covered final battle isn't bad, but the rest are over ridiculously quickly, while the lack of wide panoramic shots demonstrates that the budget maybe wasn't as high as they'd want you to think. Even the Battle of Hattin, one of the most significant clashes of the crusader era consists of little more than a shot of galloping horses and Arn looking a bit concerned, before waking up covered in blood and grime.All of which means that the English version of Arn: The Knight Templar is a frustrating and deeply disappointing film. It's been edited into the grave and switches scenes so rapidly that it comes across as a nervous, jittery film. If you can track down the original version and its sequel Arn: The Kingdom At Road's End watch those instead, but this abbreviated halfway point is just awful.
This is one of the best series ever. It shows the back story of a man of pride, it portrays the crossroads and northern Europe in the high middle ages. This series is so much more than the American action series with special effects and action scenes. This is a complex experience of feelings such as pride, honor and love, and it captures the dilemmas and problems in these times. It shows the audience different sides of religion and the crossroads, it shows that the normal generalizing of the templars isn't always right, and some can fight a good heart, just like Arn. The innocence but still integrity and honor. I recommend this series, and the crusades trilogy by Jan Guillo, to everyone who enjoys series or films, that makes you think, and makes you feel. You will love this.
It seems to me that very few who reviewed this movie has actually read any of the books. That's alright, it only means that you were less disappointed than me. I personally hold Jan Guiliou as my favorite writer, an because the Arn series was the first of his books i ever reed, it has been a standard i compare his work with. The book series is the most amazing books i've ever reed. The characters and plot really sticks out as interesting for someone who are more interested in history than the common man. This is why i had great expectations for the movie, and was overly filled with joy when i heard they were making it.I'm sure my review has hinted that i wasn't satisfied with what i saw, and this is correct. I'm not going to complain about the actors and locations, which in some choices wasn't remotely comparable to the books, what i however want to complain about is the extreme liberty the director has taken in changing so much of the original plot, that i couldn't recognize the original book i loved so much.First off, Who makes 2 movies out of 3 books ?, they couldn't possibly have thought that was a good idea. The first movie is "The road to Jerusalem" and 15 minutes of "The knights templar" i felt empty and disappointed when i left the movie theater that evening.Another thing is that the films are just a love story. Guiliou's original books was a story of life in Sweden during the middle ages, where the love story between Arn and Cecilia was the red thread that combined the books. In the movie this is the main plot, the secondary plot, and the rest of the story is left for scraps.My recommendation is that instead of watching the movie, you read the books. They are more entertaining, and you won't feel that you just wasted part of you're life.
The film starts on a battlefield where Arn (Joakim Nätterqvist) is saving a group of Arabs, one of whom is Saladin (Milind Soman). At the same time Cecilia (Sofia Helin) is under control of a very mean nun (Bibi Andersson), and has a baby, which is, of course, taken from her.We soon switch to Arn's life in his younger days, as a monk being trained in knowledge and warrior skills. We then see the relationship between the two and how it is forbidden as they come from different clans. Both Cecilia and Arn are punished. She must remain in a nunnery, and he is sent off to fight.Before he has any chance of returning home, he must take part in the battle for Jerusalem with Saladin. After doing that, he is sent to the desert under a new master that doesn't like him.But, he survives only to fight again at home when the rival clan claims the throne.Nätterqvist and Helin both were extremely good. The battles were exciting, and the music was excellent.