Tuesday, March 15, 2011

1995: Braveheart

When the King of Scotland dies without an heir, the King of England claims Scotland for his own.  He sends his soldiers to oppress the Scottish people because he feels like it, and the Scotsmen can't do anything about it because they are horribly outnumbered and too caught up in fighting amongst themselves.  That is, until the British mess with William Wallace.  Intelligent, bold and determined to win freedom at all costs, Wallace bands his people together to resist the British tyranny that has been thrust upon them.

I'm not really sure how I feel about this movie.  On the one hand, the story is pretty interesting, many of the characters are inspiring, and the whole thing is very epic.  On the other hand, it's just a bunch of random fighting that drags on and on.  It's almost three hours long, and could easily have been less than two.  I understand that the fighting is necessary to the story, but it doesn't take long for a whole bunch of stabbing, spearing, whacking, ax-wielding, arrow-shooting, and manly war cries to get really old.  I do like the costumes, hair and makeup, and how they show a tremendous contrast between the poor Scotsmen and the wealthy noblemen of both Scotland and England.  I even like the Scotsmen's random blue war paint that is never explained.  However, it annoys me how easy it is to kill the English, but when Mel Gibson gets stabbed in the heart or clubbed by about a dozen soldiers, he's absolutely fine.  I'm just sure.

In true Best Picture Winner form, this movie is incredibly depressing and disturbing.  Wallace's whole vendetta against the British starts when British soldiers kill his new wife for fighting back when they try to rape her.  The British king is basically evil incarnate, not caring who has to die as long as he expands his territory, and there's a father of a Scottish nobleman who's pretty vile as well.  So this film can be seen as an intriguing character study contrasting men who are motivated by power with those who are motivated by freedom.  But mostly I saw it as a long, gory, grusome nightmare that would not end.  This film will not be going on a list of my favorites, although I am not at all surprised that it is on this list.

Next up: The English Patient

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