madshutterbug (madshutterbug) wrote,

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No Spoilers

One of the fun things I got to do after arriving home from my recent travels is sit down with R and watch Kingdom of Heaven, Ridley Scott's recent movie with Liam Neeson, David Thewlis, Alexander Siddig, and yes, Orlando Bloom (amongst many, many others). We didn't go to see this one in theater, in part because we've not been doing theater much recently (two, maybe three times a year). Also in part, because I wasn't sure I wanted to go; wasn't sure it would be worth my time.

I was wrong.

The quality of the production is excellent. First and foremost, this is a well-told story. All of the rest of the cinematics take a back seat to telling a story, much of it based on known history. Several of the characters are historical, including the main, played by Mr. Bloom. Yet all of them are also somewhat "fictionalized" in that the story is what drives the tale, and character (while often consistent with recorded history) is developed in depth. These aren't historical characatures strutting across the stage; these are believable people.

I am personally drawn to the character played by David Thewlis (who some of you that pay attention to such things will recall as Professor Lupin in the most recent Potter film). This character is known only as "Hospitaler" and is (by his dress) a priest with the Hospitalers order. I may be more disposed to appreciate this character because I've learned a bit about the Hospitalers in the course of my formal and informal nursing education. This order focused on providing health care, such as they knew it, for those who did "Take the Cross" on pilgrimage (however militant) to the Holy Land. Furthermore, as an order they were willing to learn from other sources.

And the Hospitaler does provide such health care. However, it is much more the motivation and drive of the Hospitaler which attracts me; there are elements of the same cynicism I hold after 30 years in health care, balanced by a deep and abiding Faith. Note that I say Faith, not religion. The Hospitaler is a man from a time of religious militancy, and quite as much (possibly more but definitely equal) of that militancy rested within the Christian religion (the time period pre-dates Martin Luther and the Restoration, so we're talking Roman Catholacism) as within Islam. He recognizes that, probably a by-product of the cynicism fairly common amongst health-care practitioners, and looks not to what religion a man professes, but to the acts of the man.

One of his most important lessons to Bailin, the character played by Bloom, is found in this quote:

"What God looks for is found here (pointing to Bailin's head) and here (pointing to his heart), and it is by what you do every day that you will be a good man, or not."

Not known as, but be a good man, or not. It is far, far more important to be, than to be known.
Tags: cinema

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