***A superior and realistic medieval film***
“Outlaw King” (2018) is the sequel to the events shown in “Braveheart” (1995). The story begins in 1304 during the last year of William Wallace’s life. After Wallace is drawn-and-quartered, Robert the Bruce (Chris Pine) takes up the torch for Scotland’s war of independence over England. Disregarding the excellent epilogue, the movie ends with the Battle of Loudoun Hill in 1307 where Robert the Bruce takes on a 3000-man English force with only 600 Scots.
"Outlaw King" is actually better than the overrated “Braveheart”: Chris Pine is an all-around superior protagonist to Gibson; Florence Pugh is more beautiful compared to Sophie Marceau (or Catherine McCormack) in a petite, curvy way; not to mention she’s a more interesting character; the locations are better (even though the locations in "Braveheart" are excellent); the music edges out the score to "Braveheart"; the movie's more streamlined and consistent; and the film's all-around more compelling and realistic.
True, "Outlaw King" doesn't top Patrick McGoohan's delightfully diabolic portrayal of the pompous Longshanks nor does it have the superb defenestration sequence. But it lacks the sluggish start of "Braveheart" (the opening 25 minutes); the eye-rolling betrayal scene; the equally eye-rolling episode where Wallace rides into a noble's bed chamber on a freakin' horse and easily escapes (Why Sure!); and, lastly, the overlong and dull execution sequence in “Braveheart” wherein the Christ symbolism is laid on too thick.
It’s also more historically accurate in that it doesn't have the Scots wearing kilts or painting their faces, nor does it wrongly have Robert the Bruce betraying Wallace, which never happened (although he initially disowned him publicly, obviously for political reasons, he secretly supported his war effort and openly admitted it later).
While “Outlaw King” is more historically accurate, it has its own less significant inaccuracies: Elizabeth & Majorie actually escaped Kildrummy Castle, along with Robert’s sisters, but were found by Edward’s men shortly later; Edward II (Billy Howle) wasn't even at the Battle of Loudoun Hill so, naturally, the duel with Edward II never happened; actually, Edward I (Stephen Dillane) was not yet dead when this battle was fought in 1307 so his son was not yet crowned; Queen Elizabeth wasn't put in a cage, but Robert’s sister was; the English were already familiar with the Scottish hedgehog formation by the time of Loudoun Hill and, in fact, destroyed this formation with arrows nine years earlier at Falkirk; Elizabeth was held in captivity for over seven years before Robert could negotiate her return in 1314 after his great victory at the Battle of Bannockburn (the movie makes it seem much shorter).
Closing word: If you like realistic medieval flicks like the excellent “Tristan + Isolde” (2006) be sure to check out “Outlaw King.”
The film runs 2 hours, 1 minute and was shot mostly in Scotland, but also England. Whilst this is a Netflix movie, it cost a whopping $120 million and looks it.