Projections - Movie Reviews

Braveheart Braveheart

Mel Gibson puts his heart and soul in portraying legendary Scottish warrior William Wallace in the glorious, visceral Braveheart.

The actor is often seen with blue dye face paint as he directs himself in what is a massively scaled film (nearly three hours), a ferocious, often brutal portrait set in the years before 1300.

His impassioned, full-throated Wallace would unify much of Scotland and preach much emotion on patriotism mostly on a large pastoral muddy battlefield. An old epic poem from someone named Blind Harry provides some of the knowledge of Wallace who could be victorious against the English before he was torturously stretched out and finally beheaded.

Among the cast members, there are Patrick McGoohan as the sadistic, sly King Edward I (Longshanks), Sophie Marceau as Princess Isabelle who tells Wallace much about Longshanks’ machinations “because the way he looks at her,” and Catherine McCormack as Murron, his first sweetheart whom Wallace marries in secret to avoid being rightfully claimed by an Englishman.

Wallace’s character may remind many of his Mad Max incarnation, with a little of Prince Valiant, Robin Hood and Attila The Hun. Braveheart has the feel of Hollywood’s classic heyday and Gibson directs such an ambitious undertaking with gusto for Wallace’s heartfelt cry for freedom.

How battle sequences unfold in front of the viewer with a multitude of horses, foot soldiers, archers with flaming arrows shows the actor and director with the swagger of a master tactician. A contemporary tone comes from some of the dialogue as writer Randall Wallace understands that Gibson wants the myth to come alive, over the politics and history, though medieval notions aren’t abandoned when it came to intimacy.

There is romance and treachery amid the hardened, extended scenes of warfare, and some may think this is a vain labor-of-love for Gibson. But for the times of playfulness and long adrenaline rushes to entertain by way of armies and special effects, there is a flamboyant, truthful, populist attitude that cuts its way to victory.


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