The “Kingdom of Heaven” is a movie that was set during the Middle Ages, where the most significant historical event that was taking place was the ongoing collision between Europe and the East. The story starts when a blacksmith named Balian lost his family that resulted his faith to become shaky. However, amidst the intrigues of medieval Jerusalem caused by religious and political conflicts, he becomes a strong leader that eventually defends his whole city against others who wish for their downfall.
Balian faces a new direction to his crusade when a great knight named Godfrey of Ibelin who just came home from France after fighting in the East reveals himself as his father. This was the start of their journey towards sharing the real meaning of knighthood and brings them across different borders. In Jerusalem, on the other hand, was utmost peace that is brought about by the efforts of a Christian king named Baldwin IV, aided by Tiberias. However, the greed and fanaticism of Baldwin shatters the truce that leads Balian’s skills in fighting to be needed by him which was especially triggered when Tiberias leaves for Cyprus and Balian stays to defend Jerusalem against their enemies who want to besiege them (Kingdom of Heaven (2005) – Plot Summary. The Internet Movie Database (IMDb). N.p., n.d.).
Analyzing this movie, I think that there were a lot of aspects where religious and cultural bias were being reflected. One of which would be how it bashed the Muslim point of view. This could be seen through the concept of the movie on the Crusades where prominent figures talked about Islam being incompatible with Christianity and American values as well. This is reflected in the script as well which showed offensive stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims being bombers, dangerous, stupid, and backward people. This is one of the misrepresentations of history which led the director to having this kind of perception towards Muslims. Some of the distinct scenes in the movie that demonstrated this would be when Muslims were shown attacking churches and tearing down the cross and mocking it. However, to counter all these, the film in a way depicts Muslim characters in the movie as the most honorable as they win with dignity and respect for those they vanquish.
Aside from that, the movie represented religious misconceptions or careless generalizations that could be offensive to Christianity. There are a lot of scenes in the movie where Christian aggression is being emphasized that translates it to extreme tolerance to contradicting the teachings of Christian faith. However, in the end, Christians are still always the losers. Here, I believe that the director missed out on making sure that Muslims are not bad at all times while not everyone in the West is good as well, and that this does not mean Christians, because of their faith succumb to all injury.
Relating the role of Christianity to the time this movie was set, the Middle Ages, the church was above the secular rulers of Europe. Every aspect of life was strongly influenced by the Church or certain traditions done by the Church. Some conquerors who wished to win the throne of England perhaps needed the support of the pope first for the invasion to happen. Particularly, the Church is as influential in society that it was able to discourage even kings and heirs from being literate as they viewed learning with suspicion. On the other hand, all festivities were to be Christian festivities that were done to reinforce Christian faith. Weekly attendance at church was expected among the middle and upper classes as they believed it to increase their Christian faith which makes them better than ordinary people (What role did Christianity play in the Middle Ages. The Q&A wiki. N.p., n.d).
“Kingdom of Heaven (2005) – Plot Summary.” The Internet Movie Database (IMDb). N.p., n.d. Web. 4 May 2012. .
“Kingdom of Heaven info page.” zombietime. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 May 2012. .
“What role did Christianity play in the Middle Ages.” The Q&A wiki. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 May 2012. .