Writer: Eric Belgau, Angus Macfadyen (Screenplay)
Starring: Angus Macfadyen, Anna Hutchison, Zach McGowan, Diarmaid Murtagh, Gabriel Bateman, Talitha Bateman, Emma Kenney, Daniel Portman, Patrick Fugit, Merlora Walters, Shane Coffey, Brandon Lessard, Kevin McNailly, Jared Harris
Plot: The story of nobleman-turned-outlaw hero who was crowned king of Scots in the 14th century.
Tagline – He Empowered a People, He Fought for Freedom, To Defy An Empire.
Runtime: 2 Hours 4 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Scottish History Without the Battles
Story: Robert the Bruce starts after William Wallace is defeated, Robert the Bruce (Macfadyen) and John Comyn (Harris) are fighting for control of Scotland, with John coming up the winner, Robert isn’t willing to take this defeat laying down, with his loyal soldiers James Douglas (Murtagh) planning to take Scotland back.
With Robert injured, Morag (Hutchison) and her family discover him, nursing him back to health despite being in a heavily Comyn control area, with Brandubh (McGowan) hunting down anyone who supporting Robert the Bruce, he must regain his strength to take his rightful place on the throne of Scotland.
Thoughts on Robert the Bruce
Characters – Robert the Bruce is the man that was crowned king of Scotland after the English were defeated, he wasn’t everybody’s first choice, which sees him needing to fight for his place on the throne, which sees him being left for dead, while his opposition takes control of the land, eliminating anybody who supports him. John Comyn is the other man that believes he could be king of Scotland, he has taken control in the battle against Robert, which sees him continuing to use the connections with English, much to anger of the Scots. Morag is the single mother that saw her husband killed fighting for Robert, she must raise her children believing John is the rightful ruler, either if her stories tell of Robert’s bravery. Brandubh is related to Morag, he is willing to kill anybody that doesn’t fight for his own country, which sees him trying to hunt down Robert the Bruce.
Performances – Angus Macfadyen reprises his former role of Robert the Bruce, one he played in Braveheart, he brings us a wise leader performance through the film. Jared Harris might have a supporting role, but after this year, you want to pause and watch any scene this man is in. Anna Hutchison does bring us a stronger performance than you would expect from her, with her getting to show that she can handle a serious role. Zach McGowan does a lot of the heavy lifting in this film, he is the one that gets to handle the most action through the film, with him being the villain for large parts of the film which otherwise would involve less action.
Story – The story here follows Robert the Bruce who became of the King of Scotland in the aftermath of the William Wallace battles against the English. Now this is set up to be some what of a sequel to Braveheart, which it is only in continuing a story, not in film story. we do play into the idea of how Scotland was left in the unknown after the battle, with two people fighting for the leadership, with the people left divided and calm required to make the land complete once again. The pacing of the story does come off slow in places which doesn’t help because, it is mostly a mother trying to prove to her children who should be king, and who they should tell people they respect more to remain safe. If you know your history the end of the film isn’t going to be a mystery to you and it does feel like there could have been a bigger impact with certain things that happen in this story.
History – This is a history lesson to the people that wanted to know more historic accuracy behind Scotland’s independence from England, unlike what Braveheart did.
Settings – The film does make us feel like we are in part of Scotland, we get to see how the condition made the events of the film difficult for the men fighting for the rightful cause.
Final Thoughts – This is an interesting look at the history of Robert the Bruce and his rise to become king of Scotland, seeing how he overcame odds to take his place on the throne. Everything is acted well, never looking out of place.
Overall: History lesson.