Rated: R for violence and explicit sexual references. Reviewed by: Chris Release date: April 7, 1995 Released by: United Artists
Liam Neeson (Schindler's List) stars as the legendary Robert Roy MacGregor in this lusty romantic adventure set in Scotland in 1713.
He gets his small clan embroiled in a battle of brawn and wits with an English Lord, Marquis Montrose (John Hurt).
Jessica Lange plays Rob Roy's wife, Mary. As the one who remains behind while her husband goes off to fight, she portrays a woman of dignity and resolve, and ultimately she's the one who has to bear the deeper scars.
Lange has a graceful, fragile demeanor, but once she sets her jaw with firm purpose, it would take a King's army to change her mind. She and Neeson make a very classy, charismatic couple.
The Scottish landscape is a beautiful background to the lavish saga. And haunting melodies or loud and lively dance music, depending on the action on-screen. A scene that uses the music very effectively is one that cuts back and forth between a deadly race on horseback through a dark forest and a celebration dance with fiddlers. As the rhythm quickens, the riders increase their speed, and it's very intense.
A good adventure needs a strong, honorable hero, some terrific fight scenes and an easy-to-hate bad guy. Rob Roy fits the bill with well choreographed sword fights and a wonderfully evil Tim Roth. As the foppish ward of Montrose, he's complex, greedy and a man without a conscience -- a dangerous combination. Roth seems to exude hatred and get great pleasure from his devastating effect on others; he's just great in the role.
Just to see the muscular, good-looking Neeson in a kilt is worth the trip to the theater, but if you need more encouragement, the film is full of visual beauty, romance and great storytelling.