This was a weird film. It’s in Swedish with English subtitles, though there are bits of various other languages spoken throughout the film as well. I got a bit confused that the characters seemed to be able to speak Swedish, French and English, but were fighting for Norway. Having said that, I know pretty much nothing about the history of that whole area, so perhaps I’m just manifesting my ignorance.
Arn, the son of a farmer, is sent to spend his childhood in a monastery. He’s educated there and catches the attention of a monk who is also a great fighter, and who teaches Arn how to fight. Fast forward a few years, and Arn leaves the monastery and falls in love with a girl he’s not allowed to have. He’s sent away to do penance as a knight templar in the Holy Land. The girl, who is also in love with him, is sent to a cloister for twenty years as her punishment. Whilst in the cloister, she befriends the future queen, and when the latter is finally released, they stay in touch.
I won’t give away the ending; it’s sort of worth watching for the novelty value, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to find it. One of the main problems was that I found myself rooting for Saladin purely because the guy who played him was damn hot, and also because I just have more sympathy for anyone who wasn’t the Christians in the crusades.
Arn, on the other hand, looks at times like Matt Damon and at other times like Ewan McGregor, and spends the first part of the film seeming quite slow and dim-witted, which doesn’t inspire much confidence in his hopes as a future knight.