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A young knight sets out to join King Richard's crusaders. Along the way, he encounters The Black Prince who captures children and sells them as slaves to the Muslims. It is Robert Narra's sworn duty to protect the children and lead them to safety. Written by
Kevin Michael Papineau <email@example.com>
Interesting failure undone by bad casting and editing
Lionheart - The Children's Crusade was an interesting find in a bargain bin at a video shop - a medieval epic that I'd never even heard of from the director of Patton, produced by Coppola and with music by Jerry Goldsmith. Looking it up on the IMDb, not many others have either: it only seems to have played a week in Detroit! Why? Well, the obvious reason is it's not very good.
Its got a solid script about a disgraced young French knight who finds himself leading a bunch of abandoned children to the Holy Land to join King Richard's crusade and coming up against Gabriel Byrne's disillusioned crusader turned child-slave-trader. But it often looks like chunks are missing, and the kids are pretty awful: Eric Stoltz very effeminate and uncharismatic as the lead, Dexter Fletcher irritating as the lovable Artful Dodger type and Nicola Cowper a one-woman petrified forest as the love interest - I've never, ever seen an actress stay as rigidly immobile or as impervious to emotion as this gal. It's like watching a beautifully made up corpse in early rigor mortis for 105 minutes. Only Deborah Moore seems to give it a bit of wellie as a tomboyish female whose far more manly than the hero.
Bits of it do work, and Byrne's dark knight character is genuinely interesting and gets all the best dialogue, but the main interest is Jerry Goldsmith's astonishingly good score, one of the best I've ever heard for an epic even if it disappears towards the end. Worth a look but set expectations on low.
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