South Park has ruined my image of Mel Gibson. I see a man who loves torture as I Love Lucky Charm cereal, and so Braveheart’s soul crushing scene was destroyed. He was actually loving it, you know. Loving it more than you love waking up to the sound of sheep frolicking outside. But even though Mel Gibson may be a true to life nut job, he also knows how to make cracking films. Such as Braveheart.
Braveheart is a historical tale of the Scottish versus the British back in the 13th Century. William Wallace (Mel Gibson) goes off an a rampage after the evil Brits go and murder his wife and so a rebellion is formed with every Scot getting behind him. Except for the nobles who cause all kinds of problems for William’s crusade. They are aiming for freedom by reclaiming Scotland from the horrible King Edward the 1st (Patrick McGoohan) and uniting the country is how they plan to do it. A lot of the film doesn’t play out as it did in reality, but it serves to entertain and get us to support the Scottish people even if they were just as bad back in the day. If it was being accurate, we’d have a documentary on our hands. Based on is forever true in meaning.
The ferocity of the battles help draw you in, or make you squint and glance away if you’re a little odd and not into that stuff, and the tactics displayed are often humourous and exciting. Pace can be an issue as we slowly move from battle to battle and the opening perhaps spends too long on a rather cheesy dose of Mel Gibson acting like a grinning loon over the stunning Murron MacClannough (Catherine McCormack) but it is rarely boring as there is always the uncertainty of the outcome. Or the worry over the inevitable outcome if you know your history. Or had the ending spoiled years ago. Seventeen years isn’t a cut off point to start revealing film endings before you see them!
Braveheart is great and Mel Gibson looks to have enjoyed it a lot too. If you like loose history, big battles and a touch of torture, this still holds up well today. Just don’t start reciting the events as fact to a historian. He probably hates this film.