Published on November 8th, 2018 | by Josh Aja0
After more than eight years of war with King Edward I of England (Stephen Dillane) the Scottish Nobles swear allegiance to the crown, ending the brutal. This includes Robert Bruce (Chris Pine) who is one of two men in line to be King of Scots. But by pledging his loyalty to they agree to be under the supervision of the Earl of Pembroke, Aymer de Valence (Sam Spruell). Robert’s father, Robert Bruce Senior (James Cosmo), had pushed for the peace with England but when he dies and the younger Robert is in charge a new fight for independence seems eminent. When the last remaining outlaw, William Wallace, is killed by the English Robert knows the time to fight is now. He decides to meet with his rival for the crown, John Comyn (Callan Mulvey), to have a united Scotland fighting for freedom. When Comyn denies Robert’s request and tells him he will use the information to be named King by Edward I, Robert kills him. This proves costly as it divides the Scottish Lords. Robert is determined and will take a small group loyal to him and fight one of the largest and most feared armies in the world.
This film is based on historical events and follows Robert the Bruce in his guerilla warfare battle for independence against the English. The film definitely seemed to take some poetic license with the story, but overall it feels realistic. Set in the medieval Scotland this is both a gritty and beautifully shot film. The wide shots show the beautiful country and coasts of Scotland. Then the day to day life and the battle scenes are dirty and grimy. The film is a brutal as advertised not only in the battle scenes but also throughout the film. Director David Mackenzie (Hell or High Water, Starred Up) crafts a well thought out story that moves briskly along. I had a couple of issues with the CGI not being super realistic. One brutal scene where someone drawn and quartered, I’ll let you research that, and the body looks like a blob rather than a torso. There were also some awkward cut scenes that didn’t make sense to me. Really not making sense. The opening sequence of the film is done in one shot and might be one of the most impressively shot sequences I have seen in a movie in a long time. The performances are also really good. Billy Howie, Prince of Wales, is a good antagonist and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, James Douglas, is a marvelous madman protector of the Robert the Bruce.
I enjoyed this movie in the theater and think a Netflix view is going to be perfect. It is brutal so the faint of heart should be prepared to look away multiple times. It may get compared to another famous Scottish film from not too long ago and I think this is a nice update. But this is not that film, both in good and bad ways. I enjoyed my watching experience and will definitely catch it streaming on its release date.
4 out of 5