Directed by Peter Flinth. Sweden. 2007.

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Starring Simon Callow, Joakim Natterqvist and Sofia Helin, this is a medieval fantasy adventure based on the Crusader trilogy of books by Swedish writer Jan Guillou.

Arn Magnusson
(Joakim Natterqvist) is the son of a high ranking nobleman who is born on a farm in the West Gothia region of Sweden. His parents send Arn to a monastry where he is educated and trained to be a skilled swordsman.

He meets and falls in love with Cecilia (Sofia Helin), but they are forced apart when he is accussed of sleeping with her sister. To complicate matters, Cecilia becomes pregnant with his child.

As punishment, Cecilia is sent to a Convent, and Arn is trained as a Knight Templar. He joins in the battle between Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land.

On returning from the warfare in the Middle East, Arn has to fight to reunite with Ceilia and on a wider scale he tries to forge Sweden into one kingdom.

This is an expensive production, indeed it is one of the highest budget Swedish films of all time, and the photography and settings are spectacular. Despite the budget there are no huge battle scenes to satisfy the blood lust of many cinema goers, and the emphasis is more on a thoughtful look at Arn's beliefs and how he overcomes the obstacles that bar him from Cecilia. It stays as close as it can to the original books and works on a personal level rather than as a wide-sweeping historical epic. Perhaps it expects too much of historical adventure fans, but it is certainly worth seeing how it deals with historical issues that still have an impact on our society today.

‘Arn’ has a run time of 113 minutes, and a 15 certificate.

It is now released on DVD and Blu-ray by High Fliers.

Nigel Watson
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