Reliable, intriguing medieval tale that unfortunately never peaks
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
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