"Not the Most Riveting Historical Epic You’ll See"
What You Need To Know:
OUTLAW KING has some great attention to historic detail, with terrific costumes, sets and stunning cinematography. The movie has multiple positive Christian elements, and strong themes of freedom and liberty, but there are questionable anti-biblical moments as well. OUTLAW KING also has extremely graphic battle violence with extreme gore, and a completely unnecessary sex scene. Otherwise, OUTLAW KING could’ve been a great movie. Extreme caution is advised for OUTLAW KING.
OUTLAW KING is a good, but not great historical-epic about Robert the Bruce and the Scottish war of liberation in the early 1300s.
England delivered a brutal blow to the Scottish rebellion by capturing William Wallace, the rebel of mythic-proportions who was leading the charge. The movie starts as Robert the Bruce (played by Chris Pine) and many other Lords of Scotland who had sided against Edward I of England now pledge their allegiance to Edward because the rebellion is nearly dead. Though their people will be heavily taxed and governed by England with an iron fist, their lives are spared. Meanwhile, Robert is even given a new wife – Elizabeth de Burgh, Edward’s god-daughter.
The marriage between Robert and Elizabeth is by all means a political one, meant to unite the Scottish and English. However, Robert and his brothers worry if their father made the right choice by submitting to Edward. Robert brings his new bride Elizabeth to his home, where he already has a young daughter, Marjorie, whose mother died in childbirth. Robert and Elizabeth at first are distant, since they don’t know each other, but slowly grow fond of one another.
Not long after the Bruces pledge loyalty to England, word is spread that William Wallace was executed, and his limbs are put on display in various towns. With their father now passed away, Robert decides, along with his brothers, that they must fight again against the English, win back their freedom and claim what Robert believes is his family’s right to be the Kings of Scotland. To do so, however, Robert will have to inspire people to follow him into war, even though he’s never won a battle.
When Edward I hears of Robert’s rebellion and claim of the crown of Scotland, he and his wicked son terrorize the towns of Scotland to discourage people to join Robert the Bruce. Will Scotland find its freedom?
OUTLAW KING has some great attention to historic detail, with terrific costumes, sets and stunning cinematography. There are several powerful and poignant scenes. Chris Pine is delivers a convincing performance as Robert the Bruce. At times, however, he verges between being too melodramatic and too understated.
The movie has a positive Christian and biblical worldview about fighting for freedom and for the oppressed, decency, honor, with multiple Christian moments in cathedrals. Characters pray to God, and Robert the Bruce states that while he has flaws, he tries to be a good man. That said, some on the English side who also claim Christianity commit horrible atrocities to the Scottish people, because ultimately they serve the King over God. While Robert expresses his desire for justice and mercy, his hatred toward the English becomes animalistic, telling his men to become “beasts” in battle and that it doesn’t matter why they fight, as long as they fight. This major flaw not only takes away the moral defensibility of their fight, but it diminishes the stakes of the final climactic battle because viewers lose the emotional impact of fighting for something worthwhile. Sadly, the poor direction during the final battle ends the movie on a muddled note.
OUTLAW KING will unavoidably be compared to Mel Gibson’s BRAVEHEART since it follows the events following William Wallace’s death and leading up to Scotland’s victory over Britain. While it’s more historically accurate than BRAVEHEART, it lacks the emotional impact that Mel Gibson’s movie had and won’t be as memorable.
OUTLAW KING also has extremely graphic battle violence with extreme gore, and a completely unnecessary sex scene between Robert and Elizabeth with explicit nudity. As a whole, the movie is pretty good, but had they tightened up the script and eliminated the lewd sex scene and nudity, OUTLAW KING could’ve been a great movie. Extreme caution is advised for adults.