The Knight Arn is sent on a last mission against Saladin. He has to win this battle, before he can go home to Sweden, and finally marry his Cecilia and start a family. But the peace back home is threatened by the Danes.
Lennart Johansson grows up with one dream - to lead a Swedish dance band in the spirit of the Swedish legends "Vikingarna". He is a Swedish at heart, however he finds prejudice from all the... See full summary »
The miniseries reviewed here is actually a compilation of two feature length movies, which were very successful in Scandanavia, and as a result of that success, were shown on television in the form of a six-part miniseries. But the running time is pretty close to identical. The two films, minus opening and closing credits, run about 257 minutes; each episode (there are six) runs about 43 minutes, minus opening and closing credits, for a total of 258 minutes. So the reason it looks like a feature film is because it IS a feature film.
As to the content, it's a love story, but the lovers are divided by war and circumstance, so the bulk of it is devoted to how they cope even though they are divided. I thought the two leads had marvelous rapport (the two actors actually were in drama school together, and have acted together many times, on film and on stage), and I found their devotion to one another to be wholly believable. Of course, you have to remember that these were very different times. As the author of the original novels has said, this was an age of faith, and that extended to the faith that the lovers had in each other. Ours is a secular age, and so in order to fully enjoy the films, you have to be able to make a leap of faith, to believe that two people could love each other that much. I guess I'm a sucker for a good romance.
But don't go to this series or film expecting a re-run of "Kingdom of Heaven"; it's set in the same time and place, and covers some of the same historical events. The tone and feeling of the film, however, is very different. If it is an epic, and I'm not sure it is or was ever intended to be, it is what might be called an intimate epic. As with "Dr Zhivago," to some extent, history is the enemy of these two, and it constitutes a force that is very difficult to deal with. I can say no more without spoilers, but rest assured, all is not gloom and doom for these two.
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