The story of William Wallace (Mel Gibson) is realized in this brutal account of his life and death. William was born in Scotland and discovered at a very young age the brutality of the Englishmen who viewed the Scottish as nothing more than slaves. By the time William became a young man, he had fallen desperately in love with a girl from his village. Unfortunately, he feared marrying her as it is a nobles right to take a new bride to their bed with them on their wedding night. Not wanting his love to suffer such a fate, they married in secret, but it isn’t too long before their new love is met by terrible disaster. The magistracy of the town captures William’s wife, Murron (Catherine McCormick) and murders her, with the hopes to incite William to show himself. William did show himself, but not in the way that the magistracy had counted on. There began a torrent of fury that nearly tore down the entire empire of England, including the king himself. The rest of the film was about William Wallace and the free Scottish fighting to remove their oppressors, the English, off their land.
I expected a film full of brutality and graphic violence, but what I hadn’t expected was something with such a powerful, driven quality to it. It is not a movie about hope, but about never giving up, no matter what the cost if what’s on the table is freedom. It’s what every man and woman desires and is what Braveheart is about. One man’s refusal to give up his freedom. To fight through the deaths of friends and love ones, to suffer threw betrayals, and even watch as one country would rather be ruled by another than bond together to take a tyrant down. But William bowed to none,and even in his own torturous death he still refused to deny himself that pledge or dream in his mind, but more importantly in his heart. Mel Gibson’s depiction of William Wallace showed a man with a heart the size of the United Kingdom, and a will as strong as Europe.
The film was shot gritty, dirty, and graphic, but the actual visuals of Scotland itself were amazing. The rolling green hills, the endless forests, and the misty mornings. The countryside seemed peaceful and quiet until Wallace would march an army across it. The desire for freedom is what empowered everything about this movie.
It’s a classic. Four out of Four stars.