“Outlaw King” Mucks Its Way Thru Scottish History

For those expecting Outlaw King (on Netflix) to be a sequel to Braveheart will be sorely disappointed. The only appearance of William Wallace in David Mackenzie’s telling of Robert the Bruce (Chris Pine), is his quartered (judging by the outward curve) left hand nailed to a Scottish cross in a public square- and that is reduced by the brief encounter featured in the TIFF original cut.

What is up there is often lushly shot, mostly historically accurate; lumbering with intrigue, conniving and squabbling; filled with mucky close quarter fighting and just an enthralling mess. The time Bruce spends trying to convince the various warring clans to join his rebellion is often more interesting than the palace intrigue of the English. The abundant character cliches never get in the way of realistically filmed, gloriously gory battles.

The short on glory, long on story viewpoint makes Outlaw King the anti-Braveheart. There is no myth making just grim perseverance, guerrilla fighting and smart battle tactics. It is a fascinating modern take designed to perplex the historically impatient.

All this history is grounded in the recognizably human. Chris Pine’s confident and brooding performance keeps Outlaw King all together.

Outlaw King Final Battle First Part Scene:

All photos and videos courtesy of Netflix.

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