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|Index||57 reviews in total|
Once I heard about this movie I felt pride for my country for making
such a big production, hoping for it to be able to challenge big
productions such as Troy, King Arthur and maybe even 300. I hoped so,
but I expected otherwise. I know my epic movies pretty well, and in the
trailer some months before release I notices some bass tones of the
music score were identical to a part of the Gladiator music. I feared a
cheap American epic movie ripoff with flawed actors and fake-looking
special effects. Luckily, I did not see what I expected.
Arn has one big difference from the epic movies we know - it is made in a country where an epic movie of this size has never been made before. Naturally, many will expect to see the same of what we've seen in epic movies so far. Many will expect to see a hero or a group of heroes slaughtering hordes of enemies for the pure obsession of it that they call glory, but they won't. What they will see is the tale of the medieval life told in the most simple way. A mother promising away her son to God to serve him. The obsession of power between kings. To get to know your worst enemy and respect him as a man, and to meet anguish of having to kill him on the battle field without really knowing why.
During the first half of the movie at some point the storytelling got a little over hand, which is understandable while the balancing between being informative and entertaining is a hard thing to perfect. Though, it would be a shame going to the theater to see this film waiting for the heads to start rolling to the right and to the left, missing out the whole experience of having an honest story about the medieval life being told right in front of your eyes by common people.
This is the first part of the story of Arn. Now I have my hopes up for the second movie to round up this tale as well as or better than this first part started it.
It seems that most reviewers here want sword fights and action.
Arn is more interesting than that: it is a surprisingly complex film about honour and medieval notions of chivalry and values.
We REALLY enjoyed this - the characters are fleshed out and the plot develops at a drama pace, rather than at a dramatic pace. It seems a lot of thought went into the characterization and settings - this did cost $30,000,000 making it the most expensive Swedish film ever - and it did very well at the box office.
Those wanting just action had best look elsewhere those wanting both action and character, and a real exploration of the values of knighthood then this will definitely be your cup of tea and something to savour.
It is kind of like Braveheart in its values, and less like Kingdom of Heaven than you'd expect. Yes, it is quite elegiac, and that fits its Nordic roots well.
Overall, one of the better films about the crusades and the choices made for people living in a time when individual freedom was lost and subjugated to church and kings.
Sweden in the 1100s is the backdrop for the troubled love story between
nobleman boy-turned monk-turned-knight templar Arn and neighboring girl
Cecilia- before he is sent off to Jerusalem in the crusades and she
into a convent- plus the rivaling royal clan struggles for power in the
nation. I haven't read the bestselling books which this is based on,
and knowing this is a part-saga and soon TV-series to be, I can
somewhat overlook the gaps in storytelling.
What I do enjoy is a sound, intriguing (especially the scheming between the church and royal clans) and reliable medieval tale - with heavy doses of romance, monastery/convent dramatics and a little touch of "Kingdom of heaven"-battling in the end - that unfortunately never quite peaks. As a cinephile Swede, I know the country's market a bit, and notice that the filmmakers are SO focused on keeping a safe, steady course not to fail with such a big production ship like this, that they end up with no real climactic cinematic highlights to speak of. Rougher camera-work and sets might've heightened things a bit?
For that reason it's very evenly paced, never boring and quite nicely produced. But with a major flaw: Arn remains very stiff and sketchy as an adult character. We never personally get to know him (he has SO few lines!) as to really understand why Cecilia loves him.
All in all, 6 out of 10 from Ozjeppe
I'm sorry I can't think of a better title for my comments. I thought of
comparing it to "Kingdom of Heaven", the film trend in Hollywood, and a
bunch of other things. But the one thing that really stands out for me
is that it's just a good movie.
But the film's history reminds me of a personal anecdote regarding one of my former managers early in my film career, and his effort to get a medieval epic off the ground in the late 80s regarding Robert the Bruce. Without going into too much detail he lost control of the project, and the film that eventually came out of his efforts was "Braveheart", only "Braveheart" was the market competitor that was designed to compete with my manager's film, which never got made.
So it is with "Arn the Templar" in regards to "Kingdom of Heaven", only unlike my old boss's film "Arn the Templar" got off ground, and flourished into an impressive medieval Nordic epic. There's little to criticize about this film, other than the drama itself never really hits a high point. But perhaps that's as it should be, because it seems a bit more real. There's little in the way of over dramatizing the characters, which obviously holds back a more emotional film. This in turn allows the background itself to become a character.
We're taken to medieval Europe and Outremar. The landscape is barren, harsh, and most of all for the audience, real. The north is rich when love is in bloom, but cold when violence reigns. In the wastes of Jerusalem all is hot, parched, and full of death. The desert runs with blood.
The other plus in regards to this film are the costumes. The actors are made to look of the land. Those who trudge the desert are covered in dust, dirt, and caked mud via perspiration. And the costumes look to be of the period. Unlike another film I reviewed, "1066", the armor in this film looks like armor of the period as with the rest of the costumes. Such authenticity helps offset some of the notable lack of energy in the drama. In fact this film's art direction is perhaps superior to "Kingdom of Heaven".
Why is that? Because there is no CGI in this film. SFX for this film go back to golden era Classic Hollywood; i.e. no miniatures and no CGI. Everything you see is real. Which would help explain why this film was so expensive to make for Scandinavian film makers.
Negatives, and there're a couple. There's maybe two, possibly three oddly cut sequences where the alleged 180-degree camera rule is violated, and shots are put together in an unconventional way. But it's so minor that you hardly notice it. The only other criticism I'd make is that the film feels like a Scandinavian effort to make a Hollywood film. Not that that in itself is a bad thing, after all Europes Scandinavian types are finally mining their culture and history for some quality films.
All in all I liked what I saw. In fact I liked it better than "Kingdom of Heaven" for a number of reasons. First and foremost there are no real villains as such, and therefore unlike Ridley Scott's film this movie doesn't present us with one-dimensional sociopaths as the cause of main emotional propellant for the action. That is to say we don't need individual characters to help push the geo-politics. Outremar is there, and so is Saladin's army and the political forces driving both. We know this. Nations fight. They always have. They always will. The collective mind that nations create will always vie for power. It's the story of the individuals that are caught up in the maelstrom that we're interested in. This is what Arn the Templar is all about.
So, in the end does this film deliver? I think it does, but it does lack that extra bit of emotional muscle to really push it into the classic film category. That, and it does get somewhat reminiscent of classic films in the end. Still, this is a very solid piece of commercial cinema that should entertain.
NEW SCREENING 12/13/2010
I ordered a DVD import of the entire mini-series, and all I can say is ... my god, no wonder this thing was so expensive. The producers essentially shot an 8+ hour feature film for was supposed to be a TV series. Mini-series or no, if you spend this much time and care setting up the shots and getting all the particulars right, then is it any wonder this project cost so much?
From Arn's child hood to his eventual death, we look at his life and that of his love interest. But in a movie of the week format, not even a regular dramatic TV format, but a series that took the care and production values of a feature film, and injected them into an epic that makes the old epics pale in length. Imagine taking Coppola's "Godfather" and making a TV series out of it where every shot and prop was tended to with extra care. Well, that's what the mini series is.
Good stuff... even if I can't understand Swedish :-)
Check it out.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I heard this movie didn't get the best kinds of reviews so I decided to
watch it while in Stockholm.
...minor spoilers coming...
I was wrong. It was magical and it actually seemed even better a few days after I watched it. Don't expect another Gladiator or Kingdom of Heaven. These movies were fantastic but this one was quite different, but not the least bit less good. As someone here pointed out you will not see big battles like in Gladiator but a medieval epic can be good even without these huge battles, can it not? I am a big fan of medieval action so I know what I am talking about.
Fortunately (?) I never read the books so I can't compare the movie to them. I also liked the actors chosen for the film. They were not too well-known and therefore good choices.
I'm glad the film was shot in Sweden and not in Eastern Europe. The Swedish locations were absolutely right for this film and Romanian or Slovakian locations (who ARE otherwise fabulous) would have been wrong for this particular film.
Impressive film. i expected purely a crusades film. but it is much more. essentially it is about Arn and his life from childhood to adult. eventually finding his true love but this love is forbidden since he has "sinned with the flesh" as those crazy Christians put it. so he is sent away to the crusades where he encounters Saladin, the oppositions leader. and they come to respect one another as men of honor and wisdom. since this film involved severing of limbs and cutting throats i am puzzled why this film got a pg rating when films like die hard get a 18 rating. the answer is purely because the financial backers of the film had pull with the censorship board. after all this is the most expensive film production in Scandinavian history. cant wait to see the sequel.
OK so I read the reviews and decided to have a look at it myself. As
opposed to going into a long and probably boring review:)
lovely scenery believable acting good music good values (rare these days)
Suffered from it being too short (should have been an epic and used the other 30mins) Not enough budget (battle scenes fairly poor) Wandered a little at times
At that said - great movie - lovely to see the templars getting a reasonable treatment as they're easy targets some times:)
Go watch it and see for yourself
I actually put this in to my Netflix Instant Queue and then avoided it like so many others that I told myself I would get around to. After a few days I figured I would give it a shot. The movie had wonderful acting and the camera work was beautiful! I watched the American version and have since read that the American version is a combination of two movies that are almost twice as long. I will be spending my weekend looking for a copy of both movies to purchase and the American version as well. I will also be looking for the books. I have read that there is now a fourth book so I cant wait to find all of these so I can relive in over and over. Wonderful movie, stellar cast and beautifully shot. I don't think you'll be disappointed. I hope you find this helpful in your next movie selection.
This is a movie which is very much like a Hollywood adventure, but in Sweden. This movie could have been really bad if it wasn't for the good acting(Stellan Skarsgård, Bibi Andersson, Michael Nyquist, Gustaf Skarsgård, Sofia Helin and more), the wonderful music and some very good fighting scenes. It's nice too see a Swedish high-budget movie that can be seen by anyone who loves epic tales with good drama. Joakim Nätterqvist is surprisingly good in the leading role as Arn and he will probably become one of Sweden's next big stars. This is a very good movie that i can recommend to anyone who likes adventure, epic, drama and Swedish movies.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Arn: The Knight Templar" is the most expensive film ever in
Scandinavia. Once you've seen the film's 139 minutes however, you sit
back with a feeling of having seen it all before.
In the Middle Ages our hero and main character Arn is born in the Swedish highlands, where different clans are fighting each other. He is raised in a monastery where he is taught to master the sword as well as the Latin language. Arn returns to his hometown as an adult, only to fall in love with the beautiful Cecilia. But of course this love turns out to be impossible. Cecilia gets pregnant outside marriage and as punishment she is sentenced to live in a monastery for 20 years. Meanwhile, Arn is sent to the Holy Land to defend Jerusalem in the name of Christ. Sounds familiar?
There is absolutely nothing new under the sun in "Arn". You are simply left with a feeling of having seen it all before. Especially as our main characters' love scenes in the forest bear a remarkable resemblance to those of Mel Gibson's Braveheart. Of course, one can't expect something new and revolutionary every time one goes to the cinema. However, with a budget of over 200 million Danish crowns one goes to the cinema with an expectation of quality. And those expectations are not met.
Nevertheless, some of the money has been spent properly. The film is visually very beautiful. The film's final battle, in which we follow our sweat-dripping hero fighting in the burning desert of the Holy Land, is by Scandinavian standards extremely beautiful - but in comparison with Hollywood just extremely mediocre.
"Arn", which is an adaptation of Swedish author Jan Guillou's novel, is simply not a very good film. In particular the first half hour drags itself along, and you just don't have a clue about what kind of film you're watching. The film's opening sequence is actually quite good and points towards the fact that it's an adventure film, while the following boring half an hour points towards the love drama. This film tries so hard to be it all that it becomes a walking cliché (especially the scene in which Cecilia hands Arn her necklace is so incredibly cheesy, it hurts). All in all, it's sad that so much money has been spent only to have the audience leaving the cinema with a deja-vu-feeling, the thought "haven't I seen this before?".
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