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Laramie Movie Scope: Braveheart

A big, bloody fight for freedom

[Strip of film rule]
by Robert Roten, Film Critic
[Strip of film rule]

May 29, 1995 -- ``Braveheart'' is a big, old-fashioned Hollywood epic, the kind of film that only Hollywood can make, like ``Spartacus'' or ``Glory,'' it is primarily a film about war. Its strengths and weaknesses are similar to other films of this ilk.

The battle scenes are great, if somewhat gory. There are beheadings, eye gougings, throat cuttings and other bloody deeds. The battles are large in scale and well-staged. The photography at the Scottish locations and special effects gore are good. The musical score is outstanding with both simple Scottish tunes and big dramatic scores performed by the London Symphony Orchestra.

What fails is character development. Despite the two and a half hour length of the film, we really get to know only one of the characters very well. Even the main character, William Wallace (Mel Gibson) remains somewhat of a mystery. Wallace heads up a rebellion of Scots against an English tyrant King Edward (Longshanks) I, perfectly played by Patrick McGoohan.

Despite all the battle scenes, there are a lot of Machiavellian political double-dealings going on at the same time. It is through these back-stabbing deals that we get to know the one character, Robert the Bruce, played by Angus McFadyen. Although he's playing a supporting role, McFadyen gets some of the best scenes in the film.

In addtion to starring in the film, Gibson also directs it, and does so impressively. His character, Wallace, is based on a historical character. I don't know how accurate the history is, but based on the number of Wallaces (including screenplay writer Randall Wallace) in the credits, it ought to be close. The film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)