Braveheart – 1995 – English
Film directed in 1995 by Mel Gibson, and starring Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan, Angus MacFadyen, Catherine McCormack, Brendan Gleeson, David O’Hara, Tommy Flanagan, Brian Cox, James Cosmo, Alun Armstrong, Ian Bannen, Sean McGinley, Gerard McSorley, Stephen Billington, Peter Hanly, Michael Byrne, John Kavanagh, Peter Mullan, David Gant, Malcolm Tierney, Richard Leaf…
Synopsis: William Wallace is a Scottish rebel who leads an uprising against the cruel English ruler Edward the Longshanks, who wishes to inherit the crown of Scotland for himself. When he was a young boy, William Wallace’s father and brother, along with many others, lost their lives trying to free Scotland. Once he loses another of his loved ones, William Wallace begins his long quest to make Scotland free once and for all, along with the assistance of Robert the Bruce.
Review: This epic tale of patriotism, love and conflict opens with a birds eye view which takes you through mist and air out onto an open loch with scenic mountains in the background. This is accompanied by stirring bagpipe music, and shortly by the start of a narrative by Robert the Bruce.
After a short introduction of a young William Wallace, involving his fathers death and his first step into warrior-hood, we are taken to present day England where Edward Longshank’s tight rule over Scotland is getting increasingly harsh. Enter a fully grown Wallace (a rugged long-haired Gibson) who is back to start a family and a new life. He soon meets Muran, a girl who he remembered from way back. He and Muran fall in love and shortly get a private nighttime marriage, as a public one would result in the ‘Prima Nocte’ rule being enforced.
Unfortunately, one of the English soldiers controlling their village confronts a scared Muran and forces her into a quiet spot. William leaps to Muran’s rescue and all hell ensues. The commanding officer executes Muran promptly for assault on one of the King’s men as she bit him whilst defending herself. She was supposed to meet William at a secret spot after she was rescued but was knocked off the horse.
William returns to the village on horseback to give himself in, but he has other plans. The uprising that ensues is one of the most pulse racing and exciting fights that has ever graced the silver screen IMO. This is the spark that starts off the Scottish revolution for freedom. Soon, other clans join Wallace, then whole towns stand by him. He soon finds himself on the fields of Stirling for a real showdown. I thought I’d give you the first hour in a nutshell, the rest of the movie revolves around Wallace, Longshanks and the Queen of France as they all fight for their own cause.
The battle scenes are ground breaking and upfront, the senses of comradeship, love, patriotism and courage all take a stand throughout the film. The music adds further to the epic, be it sad and haunting tunes, or strong and stirring bagpipe anthems. Wallace is portrayed as a beacon of strength and power, not to mention a much honoured leader. Sometimes Gibson takes his character a little too far, but the title Braveheart is one that is implied to Wallace’s qualities. The films dramatic and moving ending is a good finish to a superb and powerful film.