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Braveheart
1995 - Rated R for brutal medieval warfare and brief sexuality/nudity. - 177 Mins.
Director: Mel Gibson
Producer: Alan Ladd Jr., Mel Gibson
Written By: Randall Wallace
Starring: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Sean Lawlor, James Cosmo, Patrick McGoohan
Review by: John Ulmer
   
"Braveheart" received much criticism from certain History Buffs upon its release. They said that the filmmakers portrayed Scotsman William Wallace as a brave, heroic, good man. History Buffs, however, say that he was just as vicious as the English and spared no one. Well, thank you for that, Mr. History Teacher(s). If I wanted to learn about history I wouldn't be going to see a movie starring Mel Gibson, with the tagline "All men die. Not all men really live," would I? I enjoyed every inch of "Braveheart," and if I wanted a history lesson, I'd go see "Gods and Generals," which turned out to be a horrible film - which just goes to show that historical accuracy can sometimes break a film and not make it.

Gibson plays William Wallace, a Scot who decides to revolt against the British after his wife is killed by a pack of the thievin' scoundrels! The film is LOOSELY based on his life - since no one really knows much about Wallace other than what he did: free Scotland from the English for a while (when I say "for a while," it is because their "flee-e-e-edom!" only lasted for a while...), so much of the story is made up. But like I said, I'm not looking for a history lesson when I go to see a movie like this.

This is a first director outing for Gibson, who not only gives us one of his best - if not the best - performance of his career, other than those great "Lethal Weapon" movies! He handles the direction very well for an actor-turned-director. He doesn't try anything memorable - no fancy camera sweeps to make us motion sick - but he directs the film like the old epics. One of many great things about the film.

The cinematography is excellent. I can't think of another film that is quite so beautiful to behold. It is truly wonderful to watch the surroundings fly by the screen, purely unadulterated.

As for Gibson's Scottish accent...well...he speaks surprisingly well with a Scottish accent, and doesn't sound like an American-Australian phony (isn't he an Aussie?). There is a great supporting cast in this film, as well, with a man in a rubber nose that you might not be able to place at first glance...

James Horner's magnificent score is truly marvelous to behold. He mixes Scottish bagpipes and emotion into a little bundle that in and of it makes you feel emotional. It plays during the film at just the right moments and makes it easier to feel elated or depressed.

All in all, I think that "Braveheart" stands as one of the best films I have ever seen. It is an epic in all sense of the word; I don't care how historically incorrect it is. If I wanted a history lesson, I wouldn't be going to see a film like this.

 
Movie Guru Rating
A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic. A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic. A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic. A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic. A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic.
  5 out of 5 stars

 
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