Braveheart (1995)


Braveheart Movie Review

Braveheart is a 1995 historical war film directed by and starring Mel Gibson. It is about William Wallace, a 13th-century Scottish warrior who led the Scotts to battle against Edward I of England. The film received an Academy Award for Best Picture and it also won 4 more Oscars.

First, I will admit that I am usually not a big fan of historical and especially war films. I find the battles and action sequences of those very boring and usually too extended. However, in Braveheart, although still very much extended, the action is unexpectedly entertaining to watch and follow. The story is also very well handled along with all of its historical intricacies. And it has very nice dialogue and the sequences with just planning, conversations and of course the speeches are the highlights this time around. As for the running time, it is long, but I wouldn’t call it overlong as the movie is filled with so many plot points and battles that it needed such a long running time. And that is great as usually movies clocking in at three hours are too prolonged and slow, but this is not such a film thankfully. But still I found the battles too prolonged and many times it seemed that the movie was coming to a close when in fact it wasn’t. That was also very weird.

The characters are solidly developed, but nothing too remarkable. William Wallace is okay, but is somewhat bland as these heroic protagonists usually are. Of the characters, King Edward is definitely the standout as he was very well depicted and wonderfully portrayed by Patrick McGoohan. As for Gibson at the center, he gave a serviceable performance, but he wasn’t particularly great nor memorable and that is problematic having in mind his huge role here.

However, on the other hand, his directing here is really good and I don’t mind his Oscar win at all because he made this movie epic with great scope and some powerful imagery. The movie does look very polished and professional. The cinematography is gorgeous and very satisfying at times, most evidently in the battle sequences where you get the right camera angles to follow the action properly. The action is really wonderfully done here and although too prolonged, it is very engaging and entertaining to watch. The score is one of the highlights as well as it is so powerful and just moving. It lifted the movie through many extraordinary scenes and it gave it a perfect medieval feel as the music is so beautiful and fittingly very medieval in nature.

I also liked the romance here as it is never cheesy and although understated, it was nonetheless done right. And the movie is emotionally investing with some rather warm and also heartbreaking moments. And of course the ending is superb and very memorable. I just wish that it had better acting and better developed characters. But it is mostly well edited which is quite an accomplishment for this long a film. The humor is the weakest point here. It is sometimes funny, but it is mostly too juvenile and just doesn’t belong here in my opinion. And the movie isn’t particularly smart as well as it does have some unbelievable and unrealistic scenes. And it is predictable, but it is worth following nonetheless as the approach is so professional and transcending all the weaknesses in an admirable way.

As for its Oscars, it did deserve Sound Editing, Makeup and Cinematography and Directing I would also say is much deserved. As for Best Picture, ‘Apollo 13′ is definitely a better choice and it should have won, but regardless of that, it is definitely the second best of the slate that year.

It does have some unrealistic scenes, the characters are not well developed and the humor is juvenile, but Braveheart transcends those weaknesses thanks to a really engaging, never boring story despite its long running time, excellent direction, terrific cinematography, nicely executed action sequences and very powerful score.

My Rating – 4

Posted in 1990s, 1995, FILM DECADES, Historical, MOVIE REVIEWS, War and tagged , , , , , , , .

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