Braveheart (1995)

(Second viewing, On TV, December 2016) It’s been a bit more than thirty years since I’ve seen Braveheart (I distinctly recall using the Internet in summer 1996 to look up historical facts about the film) but those thirty years apparently haven’t been kind to my appreciation of the film. Watching it today, I’m not sure what annoys me most: the bombastic and tiresome “THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS FREEEEDOM!” message; the fact that the hero fails miserably at what he tries to do; the unnecessary deviations from the facts; or the excessive length of the result. Probably all four. I’m mellowing in my increasingly older age, and while I won’t yet pretend to maturity, I’m also getting tired of films with a 13-year-old’s understanding of ideology as being impervious to common sense. I’m also tired of movies making up lies (i.e.; jus primae noctis) to push their own dramatic agendas. I’m also tired of movies stretching out over nearly forever. No matter the reason, I’m not quite as enthusiastic about Braveheart as I was before. I’ll gladly concede that actor/director Mel Gibson knows how to make a movie: this is a slick production, well worth whatever Academy Awards it got. But I’m going to stop short from professing any overwhelming personal enthusiasm for it.

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