Before Mel Gibson was a jew-hating sewage spouter and didn’t make films like Get The Gringo or Edge Of Darkness, he had a string of absolute classics. Mad Max, Lethal Weapon, Chicken Run (Reuben’s favourite), What Women Want! All these films will be perceived as some of the best in the medium years from now. However, his most critically acclaimed film is undoubtedly Braveheart, the definitely historically accurate tale of Scottish pride.
Milo, here, exclusively speaking in a Scottish accent.
Indeed, on my quest to watch ALL OF THE MOVIES, I found my way to Braveheart, a film I have been putting off thanks to its three-hour runtime, and found myself to be experiencing a range of emotions. However, for what it is, Oscar bait, you really wouldn’t expect anything less than good at the least.
Mel Gibson directs and stars as Wullyam Wollass, a Scottish (obviously) farmer-turned-revolutionary leader against the tyrannical English rule. The entire film is essentially him killing, shouting and f**king his way to freedom, which he does NOT stop going on about.
I don’t think people give enough credit to Mel Gibson the actor. No, seriously. When he isn’t phoning it in or focusing too much on what Helen Hunt wants (sufficient tornado protection, I assume. DOUBLE MOVIE REFERENCE)), Gibson can put on quite the performance. This is probably one of his most famous roles and for good reason. As well as cranking out a top notch accent, he conveys the vast range of emotions brilliantly well, making his performance not only entrancing but extremely believable.
Joining him is varying supporting cast, on one end, we have some fantastically entertaining characters, and, on the other, we have some, frankly, bland-ass borefests. Yeah, I said it. The most flat-out entertaining character is undoubtedly Stephen, played top-notchly by David O’ Hara, who’s Wallace’s Irish buddy, so you know he’s gonna be good. He’s a little bit mental, okay, very mental, and provides a lot of comic relief through his seemingly drunken rants about random arrogances. We’ve also a got Brendan Gleeson as Hamish, Willy’s childhood friend. If you’ve seen Lord Of The Rings, Hamish will very much remind you of Gimli, thanks to the beard and overly aggressive attitude. You’d be right, they’re very similar. Yup.
Along with these more leading and supporting performances, we’ve also got some solid lil’ here n’ there performances throughout the film which accumulate through the runtime to make a bigger impact than I once thought.
However, it ain’t all braided beards and blue body paint in the performances department, even Oscar-winning masterpieces aren’t perfect, in my stupid eyes. Princess Isabelle, the film’s main love interest is gloriously dull, with no standout character traits to even help me remember her. The only thing I can remember about is her aforementioned dullness and her absolute dependence on other people. Very little backbone from such a prominent character. We also had the film’s villain King Eddy Longshanks. It is told that he got the name Longshanks after a gay nightspot in San Francisco. He was a hopelessly generic throughout, doing evil things, being evil, kicking babies, curb stomping paraplegic otters, the like. I didn’t like him, so I guess he did his job right. But I didn’t hate him, cause I didn’t care enough about him, and that’s we’re a good villain lies – in the ability to actively hate them.
The film successfully divies up the aforementioned killing, shouting and f**king pretty well, without losing too much momentum and keeping me interested. Mel Gibson, for someone who isn’t really a director, did extremely well, considering. Most of the scenes had some sort of purpose to further the story, which was good to see, but there were a few useless bits of drivel here and there. However, a few bits in a three-hour long film are barely noticeable.
The action and violence, in particular, was quite intelligently. In more emotional scenes, the violence was very much off-screen, relying solely on the actor’s facial expressions to carry the girth of the scene, which was done brilliantly well. However, in the battle scenes, the action came thick and fast, much like the blood spilled in such scenes. There were arrows in faces, maces going places and a good few foot chases. It’s uncommon to see a film balance excessive and hidden violence so well.
The dialogue was, like the performances, quite hit n’ miss for me. Apart from the riling speeches given every now and then by Billy Blueballs, the dialogue was a bit tedious and seemingly samey, at some times, even cheesy, with quotes like “Every man dies, not every man really lives” making me sick right on my Die Antwoord onesie.
Overall, Braveheart is a film proud to be Scottish. So much so that it reminds you about Scotland every flippin’ scene. That being said, the thoughtful use of violence, rigorous battle scenes, standout performances from Gibson and O’ Hare, as well as the overall scale of the thing, make the film deserving of its “epic” status. This is let down by cringy quotes, a couple of dud performances and the extremely long runtime which definitely ain’t for everyone. I’m one of those people.
Lots of hugs, kisses and lacerations