Cautionary tale: Kingdom of Heaven

Ridley Scott likes his movies big. In 2005, he made one of them — an old school sword-and-sandals epic called Kingdom of Heaven that despite its action scenes and moments of brutal violence, is overall a surprisingly quiet, thoughtful cautionary tale about the hazards of extremes.

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The crazed and opulent Cleopatra

It’s appropriate that what I’ve written below about Cleopatra should be muddled as it is. That kind of reflects the movie. It’s a mess, in any number of ways, but what an arresting mess!

I’m pretty sure I saw this movie in the theatre when I was a kid and bits and pieces on TV over the years. I sat mesmerized through the entire movie about ten years ago when it came out on DVD. A week or so ago, however, I watched it again but this time it took me three days — I kept falling asleep on the couch. I suspect that was due to three things: 1) having seen it a few times already, 2) the sheer length of the movie and, 3) more wine than was wise.

As movies go, Cleopatra isn’t good or bad; it’s okay. But it’s probably the most fascinating “okay” movie you can see.
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