Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
USA, 1995. Icon Entertainment International, The Ladd Company, B.H. Finance C.V., Icon Productions. Screenplay by Randall Wallace. Cinematography by John Toll. Produced by Bruce Davey, Mel Gibson, Alan Ladd Jr.. Music by James Horner. Production Design by Thomas E. Sanders. Costume Design by Charles Knode. Film Editing by Steven Rosenblum. Academy Awards 1995. Golden Globe Awards 1995. National Board of Review Awards 1995.
Mel Gibson has created an epic to go down in history with this adventurous tale about real-life Scottish hero William Wallace. Wallace is a 13th century Scotsman who, following the loss of his beloved wife (Catherine McCormack), decides that the evils being done to his people by England’s Edward I is no longer something to be taken lying down, and so leads his countrymen in many successful battles before he is betrayed and executed. Sophie Marceau couldn’t be better as the second love of Wallace’s life, Edward II’s wife Queen Isabella, brought from France to be thrust into a loveless marriage with a mincing gay prince (Gibson loses points for a homophobic character whose sexuality keeps him from being able to function as a royal). Graphically violent, this is no film for the faint of heart, but is rich in character and beautiful photography and has a magnanimous feel to it that grabs hold of you and doesn’t let go. It’s more an event than just a film, and a surprisingly memorable one at that considering that Randall Wallace’s screenplay plays fast and loose with historical accuracy (Gibson lists them all quite openly on the commentary track). Production elements are all top-notch, especially costumes by Charles Knode that are brilliant to the last stitch.