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Synopsis: The untold, true story of Robert the Bruce who transforms from defeated nobleman to outlaw hero during the oppressive occupation of medieval Scotland by Edward I of England. Despite grave consequences, Robert seizes the Scottish crown and rallies an impassioned group of men to fight back against the mighty army of the tyrannical King and his volatile son, the Prince of Wales. (Netflix)
Starring: Chris Pine, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Florence Pugh
Writers: Mark Bomback, Bathsheba Doran, David Harrower, James MacInnes, and David Mackenzie
Director: David Mackenzie
Running Time: 137mins
The first thing that most people will do when seeing any of the promotional material for this film is compare it to Braveheart. The comparison is fair as both films share many parallels, more than just the obvious. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though most who have seen Braveheart can probably see how this film will go (full disclosure: I haven’t seen Braveheart). Along those lines, this film is also epic in scale which may come as a surprise to some considering that this is a Netflix film.
This is a film that should be seen on a big screen, however, this won’t be the case for many people. The cinematography was simply beautiful to look at so it will be interesting to see how all its sweeping shots of the Scottish countryside will look on a smaller screen. The many battle sequences were well shot and thrilling to watch as nobleman Robert the Bruce (Pine) tried to rally the Scottish people to fight back against Edward I of England (Stephen Dillane) who has taken control of Scotland.
The acting was good across the board but no one really stood out. Pine was fine as the Bruce despite not doing all that much. It seemed like he didn’t have much dialog perhaps due to his questionable Scottish accent, however, he handled himself admirably with the physical aspects of the role such as horseback riding and sword fighting. Taylor-Johnson stood out the most as another Scottish lord named James Douglas because of his instability. Pugh was good as the Bruce’s wife Elizabeth though she became an afterthought later on.
Overall, this was an epic, Braveheart-esque action movie featuring breathtaking cinematography and plenty of well-shot and incredibly violent action sequences but takes some time to get going. Being a Netflix film, it will be interesting to see what it will look like on a smaller screen as this is a film that should be seen on a big screen.