My very first official viewing of this was back in 2006, I’m not really certain at what point in the year it was. It really didn’t intrigue me enough to give it a go when I first saw the trailer. But my bleeding heart just had to give it an opportunity at some point, in which the cut I saw was pretty awful. I suppose there was redeeming qualities, at the very least a few? I thought the concept of it all was pretty well thought out, and there was definitely more to be said. I always enjoy getting to see something different, but when it doesn’t pan out like I anticipate. It makes me less inclined to give ambitious projects a shot. Which brings me to the full cut, the entire cake if you will. =)
These characters were fully realized, you got the sense that this was about more than just a struggle to survive an imperial rein. This had all the best features of a movie like Brave Heart, the polarizing leader who’s intent is to bring his followers and their family’s out of obscurity. A true presence, Clive Owen probably shines more in this role. Than anything I have seen from him previously to now. Nothing seemed unique, in comparison to say his part in Sin City. Everything else he tried to do, seemed almost half ass if you will? He exuded a Mel Gibson type portrayal which is impossible to do mind you. Given that Brave Heart was such a God send, and so beautifully shot frame to frame. Was this movie perfect? No, it didn’t really bring much else other than that to it. Even the directors cut seemed a tad bit lacky in certain terms.
My favorite role out of this entire movie, was Triston played by the incomparable Mads Mickleson!! If it weren’t for him, I may have turned this off at the climax. I guess I am trying to say I hung in for him? HAHA!! One of the things that got to me the most about this, was the insatiable need for them to pin these men against each other. I completely agree for the fact that these times were troubling, but there was little to no need for the bickering in the ranks. Some of them seemed almost like they were trying to find reasons not to follow Arthur. And I kept wondering why it was necessary at all to do such a thing. Sometimes the interactions seemed fake, and that what was so disappointing for me as a fan of these stories. Where was the loyalty for Arthur, it almost seemed to me that they were trying to tell a completely off base story. Just for the sake of being “Original” whatever that means in this case.
Arthur’s faith in God never wavered, he continued to do whatever he was asked simply because he believed it was the valiant thing to do. No matter how bogus a mission, no matter how unfair it might seem to an audience member. I suppose in that sense it was shown to be fitting. If fitting was pressuring a pair of tightly knit jeans to your buttocks. This movie had its shining moments in the sun, and then it completely faltered in so many other ways. I merely struggled to stay in the world, and that’s a problem when you are attempting to enjoy something in this manner. Would I recommend it, not if you are easily bored by often slow builds. Which often that’s what this has to offer, good qualities and bad all wrapped into one flick. The whole thing just wasn’t worth much, I wanted to like it for what it was but couldn’t. Maybe in a few decades, I can appreciate it as a guilty pleasure but not much more than that.
Contributor- Chris Ballenger