Every man dies, not every man really lives!
OK so I have decided to pick another one of those movies that I dug as a kid (college age kid) and still dig today: Braveheart! Now, before everyone freaks out, I realize that Mel Gibson is frickin’ Looney Tunes now but this movie stirs the Scottish in me like no other and I think that it still holds up. Ignore the fact that he is bat crap crazy and just remember what you felt when you heard the open strains of the score until the end of the flick when the sword stabs into the ground.
Plot Synopsis (THERE BE SPOILERS): William Wallace, as a boy has his father killed and he goes off to be tutored by his Uncle Argyle. He returns and attempts to live a normal life. He and Murron get married in secret to keep her from the vile practice of Prima Nocta. Murron ends up being killed by the local nobleman. Wallace attacks and kills said nobleman and starts a rebellion against the rulers of Scotland, resulting in the freedom of Scotland at the hands of the rebels.
Mel Gibson – William Wallace – Though we can sit and debate the true historically accuracy of the movie (of which there is very little), you can’t help but say that Gibson knocked this role out of the park. Beautifully acted fro the cheeky flirting with Murron at the beginning of the movie through one of the best death scenes every on film at the end, Gibson kills the role. He is physically believable and it is obvious that he was into the script and the role and with this being his directorial debut it might be one of the best action adventure, wanna be historical dramas ever.
Slaves are made in such ways. The last time Longshanks spoke of peace I was a boy. And many Scottish nobles, who would not be slaves, were lured by him under a flag of truce to a barn, where he had them hanged. I was very young, but I remember Longshanks’ notion of peace.
Patrick McGoohan – Edward the Longshanks – If you want somebody to play king, you get a truly classy British actor. Though his line delivery is spot on, his moments of action are out of this world. The suddenness of pushing the Prince ‘adviser’ out the window is so quick and seems to have so little though that it catches you by surprise each time you watch it.
Not my gentle son. The mere sight of him would only encourage an enemy to take over the whole country. So whom do I send?
Brendan Gleeson – Hamish – Gotta love Hamish. Big, and the opitome of the word Scottish. If I was told to draw someone that was Scottish, it would be this version of the highlander. He has some great one-liners and enough humor to keep the grim nature of the movie to minimum. And, if you want to check out more that he has done, he is, in fact – Mad Eye Moody!
William Wallace: I’m going to pick a fight.
Hamish: Well, we didn’t get dressed up for nothing.
David O’Hara – Stephen – Potentially my favorite character in the whole flick. From the moment that he sneaks the makeshift weapon into their camp to the point that he saves Wallace on the fild of battle he is a crucial part of the plot. Plus, he is a crazy Irishman – gotta love him. And if you want to add a little more Rennie cred: he was the Earl of Surry on The Tudors.
In order to find his equal, an Irishman is forced to talk to God.
The Score – Great freakin’ music. The strains of the instruments match the mist that rolls in off the moors. It is Scottish. It has the feel of the freedom that the Scottish people wanted. It is perfect.
The Battles – The part that caused me to watch this movie three times in a row in the theater (a dollar theater, I am not made of money). The battles rocked. Great depictions of what mass combat would have been like back during the day. Even the tactics used against mounted cavalry were actually used around this time in the War for Scottish Independence. The sound design during the battle scenes were also out of this world. That initial sound effect when the two battles clash into each other is mind blowing in the theater or on a good surround system.
The Diversity of Weapons – Think about the weapons that Wallace uses in this picture. It was like the prop master for the film went crazy and said: “Let’s use EVERYTHING!” – maul, antler, ball and chain, flail, claymore, axe, spear… the list goes on and on.
I don’t have one. Try as I might, I just don’t have one.
The Mel Gibson Legacy – I don’t know that I need to expand this very much but… he is crazy. You know that right?!?
Go back and check out. Ignore the fact that Mel Gibson is in it. Realize that you are viewing a great movie about Scottish pride and heritage. It is not historically accurate but it is a fun movie. You feel good when you finish watching it. In fact, I will admit this, I cry at the end every time. When Robert the Bruce says:
You have bled with Wallace, now bleed with me.
I melt. Love this movie!