As I've browsed the movies for rent I've been intrigued by the movie, "The Kingdom of Heaven". I hadn't heard much about it so I never wanted to risk renting it. But the other night my options were limited so I took the risk.
I was pleasantly surprised. The acting was excellent and I found it a fascinating overview of the Crusades. Now, before you run out and rent it, you need to know that it's rated R for violence. In the spirit of "Braveheart" you'll see a lot of bloody mass battle scenes. So don't say I didn't warn you! But I learned a lot. The Crusades are something that a lot of people refer to but know nothing about.
I didn't know the history, that Muslims governed Jerusalem until the Pope decided they should be driven out. And the politics and factions of the crusaders was interesting. Plus the siege of Jerusalem was interesting from a historical standpoint.
But in addition to the history, the contrasting religious views was interesting as well. The tension between opposing religious ideologies still exists today and so the lessons are very relavent.
It's definitely not a "chick-flick" (although there is a love story intertwined). So know that. But if you like action, historical accuracy, a religious theme and ethical dilemma's in your movie, this is worth the time.
By the way, be sure to look at some of the dvd extra's. There's an excellent documentary from the History Channel called "History vs. Hollywood" that goes into the history of the Crusades.