Monday, September 17, 2012

#763. Braveheart (1995)

Directed By: Mel Gibson

Starring: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan

Tag line: "Every man dies, not every man really lives"

Trivia: Fearing an NC-17 from the MPAA, Mel Gibson cut out some of the film's most graphic scenes

Braveheart tells the story of William Wallace (Mel Gibson), a 13th century Scottish rebel who led a ragtag army against the King of England to gain his country’s independence.

Taken in by his uncle (Brian Cox) after the death of his father (Sean Lawlor) and older brother (Sandy Nelson), the young Wallace grew to manhood studying art, literature, and the finer points of warfare. When he finally returns to the village of his youth, he does so as a cultured man, and takes Murron (Catherine McCormack), a girl he’s loved since childhood, as his wife. There are those in the village who speak of rebellion against their English overlords, yet Wallace wants only to work his farm and live the rest of his days with Murron in peace. But when a gang of British troops tries to rape Murron, Wallace acts quickly to save her, and in the process beats several soldiers into submission. As retribution for the attacks, the English murder Murron, yet far from breaking his spirit, the killing of his beloved wife drives Wallace to action. After he and a handful of his countrymen overthrow the local English Lords, Wallace declares war on Edward Longshanks (Patrick McGoohan), the King of England. It’s Wallace’s hope that Robert the Bruce (Angus MacFayden), a descendant of the ancient rulers of Scotland, will one day ascend to the Scottish throne, thus uniting the country, for the first time in many years, under a banner of freedom.

Directed by Mel Gibson, Braveheart offers moments that range from the dramatic to the deeply romantic, yet the true spectacle lies in its incredibly staged battle sequences, which capture not only the intense emotions normally associated with hand-to-hand combat, but the ruthlessness as well. Wallace shows exceptional bravery when, following Murron’s murder, he defiantly challenges the English to open warfare. His courage arouses the entire village, inciting them to join the rebellion, and with his longtime friend, Hamish (Brendan Gleeson), fighting by his side, Wallace and his men easily defeat their foes. This is the first of several such skirmishes in Braveheart , setting the stage for the carnage to come by way of a great many severed limbs, not to mention the odd hammer that comes crashing down on someone’s skull.

From this scene on, the intensity of the battles, as well as the bloodshed, multiplies tenfold, making Braveheart one of the most violent, exciting movies ever to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.

1 comment:

dtmmr said...

Very, very epic flick that deserved Best Picture that year by far. Is it a bit too long? Yes, but it still features some of the best and most epic action scenes of all-time and shows that Gibson has what it takes to take on any role. Nice review.