A GREAT SPECTACLE RIDDLED WITH HISTORICAL ERRORS!
In 1280AD, young William Wallace lives with his father and older brother on a farm in Scotland. At a time when Scotland has been repressed by the English under the brutal Edward I (a superb PATRICK MCGOOHAN), it is not long before the two older Wallaces lend their support to a growing rebellion. When it fails and both men are killed in battle, the newly orphaned William meets his Uncle Argyle (BRIAN COX in a cameo) who take him on a pilgrimage across Europe.
Years pass and when William (now played by Director, MEL GIBSON) returns to his beloved homeland he finds the inhabitants still under the yoke of the English He reacquaints himself with his boyhood friend Hamish (BRENDAN GLEESON) and his father Campbell (JAMES COSMO) as well as the beautiful Murron (CATHERINE MCCORMACK).
Despite wanting to stay out of trouble, Wallace soon discovers that trouble finds him. He marries Murron secretly but when his wife if assaulted by a lecherous English soldier (MICHAEL BYRNE) and subsequently executed, Wallace goes on the warpath and destroys the local English fort. A new rebellion has begun with an inspirational leader!
While Edward I is campaigning in France, his son the Prince (PETER HANLY) is more content with spending time with his male lover (STEPHEN BILLINGTON) than being a husband to his lovely new wife Isabella (SOPHIE MARCEAU) or, indeed, running the country and trying to quell the growing Scottish rebellion. This allows Wallace to win the spectacular victory over a superior English army at Stirling and then march on northern England and capture York.
Yet because the Scottish nobles will not unite due to petty jealousies and rivalries, combined with the betrayals of Lords Lachlan (JOHN MURTAGH) and Mornay (ALUN ARMSTRONG) during the Scottish defeat at Falkirk, the fate of the rebellion is sealed and ultimately doomed to failure.
BRAVEHEART, the winner of five Academy Awards in 1995 including Best Picture and Best Director for GIBSON, is certainly a powerful film. GIBSON does well in the lead role (despite a dodgy Scottish accent) and the two main battle scenes are equally exciting and brutal. In-between all the slaughter and bloodshed there are tender moments as well, such as when Wallace first courts Murron, plus family feuds like Edward I and his son, and the hesitant Robert The Bruce (ANGUS MCFADYEN) and his dying father (IAN BANNEN).
Anybody wanting an authentic portrayal of the times and life of William Wallace, though, will be squirming in their seat over this film. It is literally riddled with hundreds of historical inaccuracies yet finding them out does lend some charm to the film as well!
The second disc features a host of Special Features including archival interviews with the cast, a look at the battlefields on which Wallace fought, featurettes on the script and Making Of the film as well as a photo montage.
This is a film in which we should forget the dubious historical nature of the subject matter and instead simply find enjoyment, for there is much to be had, in the sheer spectacle of the proceedings!