|Braveheart (Blu-ray Disc, 2009, Canadian; Sapphire Series; French)|
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While Mel Gibson's Oscar-winning 1995 Braveheart may take its story from legendary Scot rebel William Wallace, it's far from historical drama. But then again, very little historical information exists about Wallace, except that he mounted an army of defiant Scots and ran roughshod over the English during the Scottish uprising of 1296-1305 before being captured by the brutal King Edward I (a.k.a. Edward the Longshanks) and executed for his seditious crimes. But even if the majority of Wallace's history largely comes from oral traditions, that's certainly no reason not to mount an epic film, and in Braveheart Gibson decides on a very contemporary theme — individual freedom, what it's worth, and the price some people pay for it (certainly a more poetic concept than such commonplace political notions as home rule or local control, which Wallace probably was demanding from the English in the first place, and which Scotland and Wales still bemoan today). Scenarist Randall Wallace buoys his three-hour tale from one emotionally charged scene to the next, as the young Wallace must deal with the violent death of his father, the loss of his wife to brutal English soldiers, and the mounting of a rag-tag but effective army, which forces him to negotiate not only with the English monarchy but also with various Scottish gentry, including Robert the Bruce (Angus MacFadyen), who counsels Wallace that a political solution is the only way Scotland can move towards a more autonomous future. And while there is an element of political skullduggery towards the latter half of the film, Gibson's Wallace remains free of it — fighting the good fight is his raison de etre, and ultimately more important than his own personal survival. There are only a few weak parts of Braveheart, and while many critics have commented that it lags in moments, some of that simply is because the marvelous battle scenes are so effective that the remainder of the film can barely compete. The reliable Patrick McGoohan portrays Longshanks, but there is something almost cartoonish about his villainy, as if he rules not to fortify his power but merely to inflict suffering on others for his own personal amusement (in fact, while ruthless, Edward I is regarded as a pious man committed as much to the Holy Crusades as his native land, and he probably was no more bloodthirsty than any other effective king). The delicate Prince of Wales (Peter Hanly), who would become Edward II, is given the proper historical context (yep, he was gay), but again his simpering manner and hysterical rejection of his wife does nothing to flesh out the milieu of these early Plantagenet kings any more than Gibson and scenarist Wallace grant their protagonist any real depth of character. But Braveheart isn't The Godfather, it's a rousing, inspiriational story and marvelous entertainment. There are few films made anymore that boast scores of extras, all of which are apparent in Gibson's bloody, magnificent battle sequences. In fact, there probably never has been better battle scenes committed to film with the amount of horses seen here — the way Gibson has countless steeds fly to the ground under assault, nearly crushing men underfoot as they let out cries of pain, is terrifying and a testament to the director's devotion to his craft.
"Braveheart" is quite simply, one of the best and most successful movies ever created and a huge part of that success comes from the efforts extended by Mel Gibson, as he wore three different hats for this masterpiece, those being producer, director and star. The one oddity about this movie for me was that I pretty much wore out my VHS copy of it and had, a couple years ago, purchased the DVD but only just recently took the opportunity to watch it again and no matter how many times you watch this movie, it is still a stunning, compelling and extraordinarily intriguing film that draws you in to the life of William Wallace despite already knowing how it's going to end.
The one thing that drives this movie is the spirit that Mel Gibson puts into his character of William Wallace and it is of no surprise that "Braveheart" won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture of 1995 and Best Director for Mel Gibson. The only true surprise was that he wasn't among the top five nominated for or won the Best Actor award.
High praise also goes to the long list of supporting actors and actresses that starred in this superb film! Most notable was the performance by Sophie Marceau, one of the most beautiful women on the planet. Patrick McGoohan was absolutely incredible in the role of the villain Longshanks, King Edward I, delivering a memorable performance.
One of the most notable performances in this film, among the many, was the work done by James Horner who was responsible for the score. As is normally the case when his name appears in the credits, everything about the score, from the first reel to the last, is incredibly well blended into the movie and serves extremely well in enhancing the experience of the movie.
As the old saying goes, is it Hollywood or History? The truth is, of course it's a bit of history, put together Hollywood style to make one of the best films ever presented to an audience. The truth behind it is that we'll never know as recorded history from this era is circumspect as best. Where a huge portion of the credit for this film lays is in the hands of Randall Wallace, a descendant of William Wallace's.
As this historic film opens, we see a young William Wallace in Scotland as he's learning the harsh lessons of life in his era. After his family is killed in battle he's fortunate enough to have his Uncle Argyle (played brilliantly by Brian Cox) take him under his wing! Several years later he returns home to find that his countrymen are still suffering under the yoke of English oppression but he didn't come home for that, he came home for Murron MacClannough (Catherine McCormack), seeking her hand in marriage. Unfortunate events unfold from there and William loses the love of his life and goes on a rampage not only to avenge his love but to free his country...
What follows from there is not only one of the best films of the nineties but one of the best films of all times. I highly recommend "Braveheart" to any and all who are interested in seeing what true movie making is about!
My personal rating on this Motion Picture Epic - 9.9 As Good as It Gets!!
I bought this movie because I am a history buff, and I am in love with anything containing Scottish heritage and culture. I fell in love with this movie the first time I saw it. It has breathtaking scenes of the Scottish countryside, heartfelt music, combatitive action, romantic love, and sorrowful death.
The struggle of the Scottish people for their right to freedom is portrayed in this epic story of life, love, and loss. William Wallace looses his father and brother in a tragic betrayal and is then taken with his uncle and raised in a land not his own. Only to one day return to his beloved Scotland and its people.
He is well educated and liked by some while others are wary. Wallace just wishes to live his life in peace yet the turmoil of his country will not allow it to be so. Wallace's love is brutally murdered and he is dragged into a political war against the English king for his homeland.
Wallace makes many new friends and countless enemies and ultimately his demise is at the betrayal of a newfound friend, Robert the Bruce. Wallace dies at the hands of English torturers with the word 'freedom' on his lips.
Empowered by the brave William Wallace, the Scottish people rose up again, and led by Robert the Bruce they took victory.
Mel Gibson is an outstanding actor. He brought to life the character of William Wallace. You felt his happiness, his victory, his sorrow, and his pain. For any Mel Gibson fan, this movie is a must see. If you liked "The Patriot" and all of the "Lethal Weapon" movies, you will definitely like Braveheart.
This is one of my favorite movies of all time, definitely in my top 3. There are all lot of life lessons here, some that are just under the surface, others that are right in your face. This is my definition of a guy movie! This is Rated “R” for nudity, adult situations and graphic violence. It is a classic, and at 3 hours long. There is a great mix of romance and battle scenes, to keep you interested. It will someday, probably be sliced and diced for a “PG” TV audience.
This is directed by Mel Gibson who plays Scottish hero William Wallace, a man with simple roots who finds himself, leading the Scottish revolt against England in the late 13th century against the despicable King Edward the Longshanks (Edward I).
Braveheart defines honor and nobility in a way we all accept, reinforcing what we've always felt, that true nobility is not the result of your birthright, but that it comes from the way you live your life. It's an excellent “rule to live by” that stays with you long after the film is over, and that is all too rare these days. There is a lot of people who take issue with the films Historical inaccuracies but it is not meant to be a historical text book, it is a drama, and a dam good one. Buy the dvd and watch it numerous times, it’s that good!
"...A bracing, visceral war adventure..." -- 3 out of 5 stars - Premiere - Christopher Kelly. 3 out of 5 stars from me & Gibson is not one of them either in direction or acting. (Although the Film Academy disagrees with me & other critics of this ruin of the Scottish legend of William Wallace).
Historically quite problematic since Gibson takes license with Scottish history & gets much of the story of Scotland's 13th century 'legend', William Wallace, fundamentally wrong. The most egotistical of all the Gibson films I've watched to critique. Scottish history is displaced by American capitalist financial prosper $$$.
Gibson directs & plays an ahistorical Wallace as a flaming & brutal gender supremacist bent on bloody gore, heathen man-bonding & brute woman-bashing. It is also racist to the core as if there were no people of color in the Wallace legend or in living ancient Scotland! Alan Ladd Jr. must have been out of his mind to produce this ahistorical, but ever so typical "Hemingwayism" man-to-man bonding through blood & war boring epic. I expect undereducated men to love it, subservient women as well. But for the historically well educated, the nonviolent, children & independent women it's a film to avoid--unless you're viewing it to critique it.