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With: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan, Brian Cox
Written by: Randall Wallace
Directed by: Mel Gibson
MPAA Rating: R for brutal medieval warfare
Running Time: 177
Date: 18/05/1995

Braveheart (1995)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Kilt or Be Killed

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Buy Braveheart on DVD.

Watching Braveheart is like going to McDonald's. If you're really hungry and really in the mood for a tasty, greasy burger, you'll love it. Braveheart is a great big splendorific Hollywood epic that's not exactly original or cliche-free, but fairly satisfying.

As far as epics go, this one is not as good as Lawrence of Arabia (what is?), but more in the realm of Spartacus or Dances With Wolves. Mel Gibson directs and plays William Wallace, a Scotish rebel who lived circa the late 1200s. Randall Wallace (a relation? I don't know... ask him) turns in a big script where the little guys are heroes and kings are rotten and evil. The movie starts just before the British take over Scotland, because the last Scottish king died without an heir. The British impose a law in which newlywed Scots women must spend their wedding night with a British nobleman and not with their Scottish husbands. Mel falls in love and marries in secret so he won't have to share his wife. But the British find out about it and kill her. So Mel spends the rest of the movie seriously pissed off and kicking British butt.

There are several battle scenes that rank among the finest in cinema history. Honestly, you can't see how they could have possibly been filmed without killing scores of extras. Each battle scene outranks the previous one.

Mel Gibson is a great star to watch. He gives his William Wallace the same no-nonsense fury that he gave to his Martin Riggs in Lethal Weapon and to his Hamlet (1990); it works again here. As a director, he keeps this behemoth movie moving fast and makes it look good.

This is exactly the kind of movie that wins Academy Awards. It's about an ordinary man taking on impossible odds.It's a grand story about romance, revolution, honor and courage. Gibson clearly put his heart and soul into this movie and you belive him and respect him. It's hard not to like a movie like this, when it's all of these elements that got us to love movies in the first place.

Just like a good burger.

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