This fantastic film by Ridley Scott is an outstanding depiction of the double standards, politics, and blood shed that fueled the Crusades. I was thoroughly in love with the theatrical version, until I learned of the Director's Cut. In the DC, we understand the characters and the storyline so much better--it makes the choppiness of the movie nonexistent.
Here's the review for the theatrical version:
In the beginning, we are introduced to a band of Crusaders passing by a burial alongside the road. We see the form of a woman, covered in cloth--the wind blows her face covering, and we see her pale, cold face gazing emptily toward the sky. The priest (Michael Sheen) then declares her a suicide and the gravedigger raises an axe, to rid her of her head. We see no gore at this point, and it's tastefully done.
Later, a man (Liam Neeson) approaches another man (Orlando Bloom), saying: "Some say Jerusalem is the very center of the world for asking forgiveness. For myself, I call it here. Now. I knew your namesake. I knew your mother. To be courteous, I should say that it was against her objections. But I was the lord's brother and she had no choice. But I did not force her. I have forgiveness to ask of you." This seems to imply a rape in the theatrical version--in the Director's Cut, we understand that Godfrey and Balian's mother did care something for each other, as seen by a flashback.
There is a scene much later on involving an unnecessary sexual encounter, about a minute longer in the Director's Cut than the Theatrical. But if you're like me, this shouldn't phase you: The fast forward button is a good friend to keep.
As for the violence, let me say this: The very act of a parent freaking out over inappropriate things is the first step to a child craving these things. However, if your kid is not ready or is easily upset by accurate depictions of spurting blood, throat cutting, maiming, ect, then they should not watch the violence in Kingdom of Heaven. A man is shot by a crossbow bolt in the throat. Another is shot in the ribs. Many people are slain, rocks are stained red, decapitated heads are piled and left in a heap in the desert, blades flash crimson in the hot sun, men die defending their city.
Religion is also discussed in a way I personally appreciate. The main character often clashes with the Catholic priest, who makes self-serving statements, and wishes only to save himself at the cost of the people. The main character thoroughly beats this priest down by virtuous actions. God is often mentioned; I especially love David Thewlis' character, who states that he does not respect religion, but relies on being just, following God with all your being, without getting caught up in self.
There is an obvious theme of clashes between the Muslim faith and the "Christian" (Catholic) faith. However, the main character's befriending of Imad (a Muslim), speaks volumes for transcending hatreds.
There is also a leper in the movie, a noble, just king covered by a cowl, whose face is revealed to us later on. We see some gnarly decomposition.
You may read all of this and decide this is not the right movie for you. Let me assure you of the quality of this film. It's themes are of repentance, life begun anew, loyalty and devotion, and the finding of faith and family. The locations are breath-taking. The fight scene filmed in the snowy woods is captivating (featuring some amazing horseman-ship by the Hospitalier). The writing (Jeremy Irons and Eva Green's lines especially) is so very well done. This movie is a must-see...but, buy the Director's Cut. It's so worth it.