Costume, hair, makeup; directors no doubt celebrate the casting of a major star in a historical drama. This allows them to really show off their trades. In yesterday's review, "The Last Samurai," they were able to transform Tom Cruise into a silk-robe wearing warrior for the Japanese. In "Dances with Wolves," reviewed earlier in the week, the equally macho Kevin Costner was outfitted in the blankets and adornments befitting to a Sioux fighter. "Braveheart," which won the Oscar for Best Picture of 1995, renders its hero, Mel Gibson, in kilts and war paint. And in the words of Will Smith in "Men in Black," they make those clothes look good.
In "Braveheart," which is loosely based on a true story, Gibson plays William Wallace. As a child in Scotland in the late 1200s, William's father died in combat with the English. After this death, he went to live with his uncle (played by Brian Cox). Years later, he returns home, hoping to start a family with Murron (played by Catherine McCormack). At this time, the English, led by King Edward I (played by Patrick McGoohan), ruled Scotland. They passed a law that allowed English soldiers to have sex with a woman on the first night of her marriage. To avoid this unorthodox start to married life, William and Murron wed in secret. The English learn this and kill Murron. After her death, William and several other Scotsmen kill many enemy soldiers. This ultimately leads to a rebellion with our hero as the leader.
"Braveheart" features one of Mel Gibson's best performances. From a historical perspective, he was too old to play William Wallace, but he still captured his toughness and charisma. Patrick McGoohan is equally good as King Edward. He is a memorable villain. Another great performance is by Sophie Marceau, who plays the daughter-in-law of King Edward. She comes to like William.
The movie features some of the best battle scenes ever put on film. They are quite violent and give the audience a feel for combat of the time.
"Braveheart" is a must-see for Mel Gibson fans.