Men dont follow titles. They follow courage.
Running Time: 177 minutes
UK Certificate: 15
Country: United States
Hills, bagpipes, mist, the word Scotland written along the bottom of the screen it can only be one place. Thats right, Wales. Nah, only joking as if anyone would ever make a film about Wales.
Mel Gibson both directed and starred in this tartan-clad epic about William Wallace, the legendary Scottish freedom fighter/terrorist who, even way back in the 14th Century, had already had enough of the English going on about winning the World Cup in 1966. So, armed with just some rocks, a few hundred muck-dwellers and an extremely peculiar accent, he led a nation to fight for freedom from English tyranny. Or something along those lines.
Its actually fairly appropriate to be so vague about all of this, because nobody really knows all that much about the real Wallace (and most of what we do know comes from a poem). You could spend a lifetime picking apart the historical inaccuracies in the flick, and there would still be those whod disagree with what you found.
Because of that, how much enjoyment you can get from this 177-minute beast depends largely on your willingness to accept Wallace as a charmer with biting wit and a permanently clean-shaven chin. As the sort of bloke beautiful French princesses would hand over national secrets to simply because of the way he looks at them. Or even just as a guy who doesnt smell like moss.
The most breath-taking, if gruesome, parts of the movie are the incredibly lifelike battle scenes. Putting them together must have been an immense project to undertake, but youve got to hand it to Gibbers he does it very, very well. He also makes a likable hero figure, providing you can put to the back of your mind the fact that hes basically playing the original ned.
Personally I find the movie far too long, particularly as parts of it play like a TV advert for the Scottish Tourist Board. In one scene, for example, Wallace sprints to the top of a mountain and just stands there, kilt billowing, for no apparent reason. Anyone whos ever worn a kilt will of course know that the last place youre likely to linger is a-top a windy Scottish mountain. Talk about freedom!!
It's Got: A clutch of Oscars to its name, including Best Picture, Director, Cinematography, Face Paints (sorry, I mean Make-Up) and Sound Effects Editing.
It Needs: A second leg at Wembley.
DVD Extras Audio commentary from The Gibster, and an original trailer. DVD Extras Rating: 3/10
Alternatives:Rob Roy, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
It might be a load of nonsense from an historical point of view, but Braveheart still produces the goods entertainment-wise. But does it really have to be so long??