This is a film that I’ve been told countless times that I need to watch and that I’d enjoy the hell out of it. Braveheart is known as not just a fantastic sweeping epic film but one of the most surprising best picture winners ever. I am a huge fan of Mel Gibson as an actor and especially as a director. He is so amazing at filming battle sequences so I was insanely excited to finally sit down and watch it after picking up the Blu-Ray recently. Braveheart isn’t a perfect film, but it is one hell of an ambitious and epic war film that I enjoyed a lot after say the 35 minute mark.
Braveheart tells the story of William Wallace (Mel Gibson), a Scottish man who after witnessing a devastating personal tragedy, begins to lead a revolt against the King of England, Edward I which leads to some of the greatest and most visceral battle sequences I’ve ever seen. The battle scenes are enough alone to recommend this film. They are so brutal, so bloody and so satisfyingly awesome. The thing that makes these scenes even better is the fact that you get behind the character of William Wallace and the entire Scottish clan. I found myself rooting for them right away. You understand why they’re revolting and fighting for their freedom after we witness firsthand what England is doing.
Mel Gibson is phenomenal in this film at everything. His performance is full of charisma and heart and he puts his all into Wallace, who as a character is just a good and honest man. His skills behind the camera are something else though. This film is absolutely stunning to look at. I found myself just awing at some of the shots. The cinematography is breathtaking. The absolute best thing and my personal favorite thing about this film is the score by the legendary James Horner. This is one of my favorite film scores now and just gives a sense of hope and constantly gave me goosebumps throughout the film. The score made each battle more epic, each death that more tragic and each success that more satisfying. He was a truly legendary master of the craft and is missed immensely. RIP.
My main problem with the film is kind of weird because it is what sets the film’s events in motion. The film has a heavy amount of romance in the film and especially in the beginning, it feels like it is very rushed. Then, something happens and it was a very sad scene but didn’t feel 100% earned. The film’s romance is a little more fleshed out and worked more for me later on in the film but then something else happens that kind of again felt very rushed and then at the end, it’s like it never happened. Also, while the film is never boring, the first 35 minutes are a bit slow and while not disinteresting, the film really picks up once Wallace is an older man and Gibson appears.
Braveheart is a well made epic that is definitely one of the most influential pieces of cinema ever made. Mel Gibson kills it as both director and actor. James Horner’s score is one of the greatest film scores I’ve ever heard and the action in this film is top notch. While some of the story elements aren’t as great as they could of been, the overall story is still an intense and investing one and will have you pumping your chest and rooting for the Scottish!