When Braveheart was released in Mexico back in 1995, I didnít take an interest in the film, until later when it won 5 Oscars, including Best Director and Best Picture, but still something was missing. Havenít seen it yet. Then I came to the U.S. of A. and my uncle insisted on me to see it. So I did, and I was blown away. Sure itís got plenty of action, hard hitting fight scenes, but also a truly meaningful message, and the film is a masterful work of art. Of course, I learned history and realized the film is not historically accurate, but it still rocks. Why? Iíll tell you why?The film is the story of William Wallace, a Scottish commoner who lived in the twelve century. We start off in his beginnings, as a child, living and experiencing the death of his father and brother in battle against the English. Scotland at that time would be oppressed by England, under the brutal reign of King Edward the Longshanks (Patrick McGoohan), who at that time was the most ruthless king in British history. Then, Wallace grew up and fell in love with Murron (Catherine McCormack), daughter of a commoner once friend and patriot of Williamís father, and who has known since he was a kid. They marry in secret, but then an English bum tries to take advantage of her, he defends her, and both try to escape. Wallace manages to, but Murron is captured, and then theyíre both falsely accused on trying to kill English soldiers, and sheís killed. But then Wallace returns with revenge, and fueled by his anger, he sets off the Scottish rebellion against England. At the same time Longshanks supervises the marriage of his faggot son Prince Edward (Peter Hanly), with Princess Isabelle (Sophie Marceau), daughter of the King of France, you know ala ďenemy of my enemy is my friendĒ style. Back in Scotland, Robert The Bruce (Angus McFayden) is contending for the Crown of Scotland while being at odds whether to follow Wallace or follow his evil fatherís advice. Wallaceís battles continue, from his sudden relationship with Isabelle towards his ups and downs until his final moments.
"An Artistically Impressive Flick Despite Historical Inaccuracies"
So there you have it. Now, lets get one thing clear before we go on. Iím a fan of history, and always like to go see movies that are based on history. Of course I tend to hate a few historical inaccuracies, only if they replace it with shitty ideas and are made up poorly.
In the case of Braveheart, there have been people bashing it due to its historical inaccuracies. Well, as a fan of history, but also, as a fan of film I must say this: Itís good to bash a historically inaccurate film that fucks up not only historically but also artistically, like Pearl Harbor. But itís unfair to bash a film that despite being inaccurate it shows off a great artistic work. Thatís the case with Braveheart. The film wouldíve failed if it were poorly made, with lame direction, shitty costumes, stupid unbelievable scenes and coincidences and crappy dialogue, but that wasnít the case. Sure, itís historically inaccurate, that takes a shine off the film, but whatís impressive is that the way it was done, artistically (direction, cinematography, dialogue, etc.) is so remarkably well made, that it manages to make up for the lost territory that the film looses due to historical inaccuracies. That by itself is a hard task. Pearl Harbor fucked up in both sides, but this film fails on one side, but makes it up with the other.
Now, another thing that people have criticized this film is also due to the dislike of Mel Gibson. One thing that many film viewers have to learn is that when you go see a movie you have to always concentrate on the movie itself, and not bash it only because an actor you dislike is on it. That would be ridiculous to do, especially if itís a well-made film, and furthermore puts your ability to review films in serious question. I myself didnít care about Gibson that much; I went to see a movie, not to see what Gibson does or doesnít do wrong or plain make fun of him. Thatís just minor details.
One of the things that were amazing in this film was the way the film told its story (written by Randall Wallace) in the beginning. Thereís little dialogue, yes, but the story is told yet again, simply, through the camera eye. The cinematography was key in portraying this important part since, most of Wallaceís early life up until his rebellion is told basically in pictures, and thanks to this, and Gibsonís direction, the pictures ďspeak for themselves,Ē that was for me, astounding. The same thing in the wedding of Prince Edward and Princess Isabelle, the camera depicts us the feelings of both people, and does it magnificently. Plus, lets not forget the breathtaking and bloody battle scenes, which were absolutely fantastic. John Toll really deserved that Oscar.
The films message of standing up against your enemies and fight for freedom is the filmís key to its importance. Itís another portrayal of how a man with dreams of freedom would stand up and fight oppression and get what he and his people want. Lots of films have depicted this message, but Braveheart is one of a few standouts that give it out with a roar. Lets not forget that William Wallace is a legend in Scotland, and the leader of the independence movement in Scotland. Now, thereís Robert The Bruce, Bruceís character represents the nobility in Scotland. Of course, nobles always will be loyal not to their country but to money. But Robert is at a crossroads; on whether stay loyal to Longshanks via nobility and money or to join Wallace and fight. In the film we see his struggles, but in no way the film is portraying The Bruce as a coward, or a traitor, much less an idiot. Iíd say the opposite, the film portrays him, as a rather confused man, indecisive on whether finally stand along as a patriot to his people and prove that heís a worthy noble, or play it safe, like his father advices him, and just be interested on gaining more land, in other words he tries to be a politician when he isnít. It isnít until later after Falkirk that he realizes how wrong he was. That was humanity and storytelling at itís best.
The performances of the actors were great all over. Gibson gives one of his strongest performances in years, and makes his character Wallace likeable. Angus McFayden as The Bruce was also great, so was Patrick McGoohan as the evil Longshanks. Furthermore Gibson impressed me, as he adds his name to the list of actor/directors, for the work he made here. Very impressive job, and maybe it will stand as his best film to date.In the end, this film was top notch; I fucking liked it a lot. No other film except Gladiator has been made that despite big historical flaws, it manages to pull of a great job artistically as this one. Braveheart will endure the tests of time and stand out as a future classic not only thanks to its stunning visuals and unforgettable message, but also because this film is also another fine example that filmmaking is an art.
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originally posted: 08/14/01 15:44:20