A Bloody Mess
Back in the 14th Century, the Scots yearned to be free from English domination. Directed by David Mackenzie, Outlaw King deals with part of the historic struggles that took place, particularly events involving Robert the Bruce -- called the Outlaw King -- who managed to defeat a much larger group of armed English soldiers in a pivotal battle. Robertís clever planning and strategy receive emphasis in this bloody Netflix offering.
If youíve seen Braveheart, itís important to know that Outlaw King starts where that film ends, so the only sighting of William Wallace is one of his body parts. And while this movie includes impressive cinematography and excellent performances, it seems difficult to follow. Also, itís less than exciting, despite all the action and bloodshed on screen.
However, two relationships depicted here are fascinating to watch. The first involves Robert the Bruce (Chris Pine) and Elizabeth (Florence Pugh), his reluctant bride. Pine and Pugh make every scene between their characters believable, and itís a pleasure to see their love develop as they get to know each other. The second is the dysfunctional relationship between King Edward I (Stephen Dillane) and his power hungry son, the Prince of Wales (Billy Howle). Howle succeeds in making his character the vicious villain we need in a movie like this, while Dillane portrays the tyrannical Edward as also one of the worst fathers ever.
Itís not Braveheart, Iím sad to write.
But this film boasts fight after fight.
Why so dull, I keep wondering,
when Chris Pine plays the Outlaw King?
Heís always such a splendid star.
Maybe that beard his face does mar.
As Robert the Bruce, King of Scots,
he ends up calling all the shots.
To get there he must be brutal
while leading men who give their all.
Bloody battles erupt on screen.
One the messiest I have seen.
The mud and gore and horses spiked
evoke gagging Ė not what I liked.
This Outlaw King is plagued with woes.
War is hell, the old saying goes.
There is a savage beast in every man, and when you hand that man a sword or spear and send him forth to war, the beast stirs. --- George R. R. Martin
(Released by Netflix and rated ďRĒ for sequences of brutal war violence, some sexuality, language and brief nudity.)
For more information about Outlaw King, go to the IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes website.