Monday, September 21, 2009

Braveheart (1995)

TOP 100 FILMS: #78

After the death of his wife, William Wallace (Mel Gibson) becomes the leader of a Scottish uprising, as they attempt to regain their country's freedom from British king Edward the "Long-Shank" (Patrick McGoohan).

If you glance over my list you'll notice I have a few categories of film that I really love: among the most consistent are epic+war films. I love going on a journey with characters, seeing their ups and downs, the trials and tribulations, and how they ultimately meet an end to their overarching problems. Mel Gibson's much beloved 1995 epic war film about Scottish hero William Wallace, and the 13th century Scottish Revolution, is about as great an epic film as you're ever likely to see.

We follow our main character from childhood to end, from his first love, to his emotionally, and grand struggles that would become the driving force in his life. The battles are epic, the story monumental, the directing spot on, the characters fun and exciting, the depth exactly where you'd want it to be. Perhaps the best aspect of Braveheart overall is that each character comes with such depth that you are driven to feel exactly what Wallace and Gibson want you to feel about them. You feel compassion, love, and support for William Wallace, distaste for the King, and a struggling sense of untrust with Robert the Bruce (Angus Macfadyen).

In fact the only thing not perfect about this film is the editing, which makes a couple of rather obvious blunders, probably why it didn't win the Oscar there. Overall though the editing mistakes are microseconds of this massive film, and will do nothing to harm your overall viewing. In fact Braveheart accomplishes three things most often associated with classic films: 1) Strong stand out characters 2) Insane quotability (almost every classic film has at least one line) and 3) The ability to reach out to the audience. Combine all of these and you get a film transcendent in the world of cinema, an always perfect treat, even on your 20th viewing.

Braveheart is one of the greatest epics ever made, with just pure quality in writing and directing from top to bottom.

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