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1995

Mel Gibson as William Wallace

Angus Macfadyen as Robert the Bruce

Catherine McCormack as Murron

Brendan Gleeson as Hamish

Directed by Mel Gibson

Synopsis: Subjected to some pretty terrible occurrences as a child, William Wallace returns home to Scotland as a man who is tired of people who have no right to his country telling him what to do.  Some atrocities occur, including the violent murder of his life-long love, which spurs Wallace into action: he and his pals decide to remove Scotland from English rule and have a country of their own.

Oh, man is this hard to watch.  It’s just so VIOLENT.  But it’s beautiful.  The constant struggle of good vs. bad is amazing, and it gives you faith that even if life sucks worse than it ever has, you can endure and still try to make things right.  Plus it’s got a great score.  You may not think it, but the love stories (yes, it’s plural) really turn this into a chick flick (in the most minor sense).

What’s so great about a movie where damn near every good guy dies?

  • The scenery.  Actually filmed in Scotland.  According to IMDb.com, there were so few days without rain that the filmmakers just had to suck it up and film anyway, or the movie would never be completed.  But yeah.  Those incredible mountains.  Sigh.  I’ve never seen any like them, and am absolutely DYING to travel north of England to check them out.
  • The cast.  Yeah, Mel’s an Ozzie (or Aussie, depending on your familiarity), Brendan’s Irish, and McCormack is English.  But they’re so great.  I really liked Stephen, the Irishman.  His character is nuts (really, he’s a madman), and he adds enough levity and passion to build a man who is just doing the best he can and trying not to “let the man get him down” (thanks, School of Rock).

Favorite scenes:

  • William and Murron’s first date when he comes back to Scotland.  He’s so adorable, trying to impress her, and then he tells her how beautiful she is in a language she can’t understand, but by her expression, she gets it.  It’s so intimate and beautiful.
  • The villager’s first revolt on the garrison.  Everybody’s just so tired of being pushed around and restricted and violated that they destroy the English post and all the men with whatever they’ve got handy (I think there are some women who get a soldier with sticks).  It’s powerful, and definitely sends a message: we’re tired of you running our lives.  Back off.  NOW.
  • The last scene of the movie, narrated by Gibson.  It ties everything together so well, and, of course, the music just gets the tears a-streaming.  There’s something about bagpipes, ladies.

Weepy Meter:  7/10  For me it’s a 10.  The tears just fall out of my face.  I have no control whatsoever.  But I’m betting that you are probably a bit better about holding in your emotions than I, so I dropped it down a notch.  Or 3.

Man Meter:       8/10  Battle scenes.  Gory, gruesome deaths.  Sex.  Weapons.  He’s probably already seen it, and would most likely sit down to see it with you if you haven’t yet.  It’s long, but due to the manly attributes already mentioned, the 177 minutes will go by pretty quickly.  Especially if you supply the beer.

Overall Rating: 8/10  I can only handle the Gibson/Wallace ego so many times before I start rolling my eyes when he talks.  Not the best script in the world, either, but it did win 5 Oscars ®, so something was good about it.  I guess.  Kind of meh.  Could take it or leave it.  Oh wait…I rated it…yeah, that’s sarcasm, pal.  Pretty good, huh?  Now go see a bloody, violent movie and question my reasoning.

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