Story trumps gore in "Braveheart"

By Andrew Coan

Arizona Daily Wildcat

"Braveheart", starring and directed by Mel Gibson, is the story of a 13th century Scottish rebel named William Wallace who is trying to free his native Scotland from the oppressive rule of a tyrannical English King.

Don't let the boring sounding premise fool you, "Braveheart" is one of the summer's best films. What makes the film so good is that it consistently does not talk down to the audience, or dumb down to make the film more "accessible" to an audience used to eating up whatever Hollywood has spit out.

Mel Gibson is William Wallace, a legendary hero who matches wits with the evil King Edward I. Edward is played by Patrick McGoohan (known for his acclaimed British series "The Prisoner"). Gibson's wife Murron is played with grace and charm by Catherine McCormack, (know mostly for her portrayals on British Television). Newcomer Sophie Marceau mid

plays the intense, intelligent Princess Isabelle. The chemistry between Marceau and Gibson makes watching them interact a real pleasure.

"Braveheart" outstrips all of the other summer blockbusters. It's the chronicle of one man's fight to make the world he lives in a better place.

And the battle scenes are done as well as anything that Laurence Olivier, or Kenneth Branagh did in their versions of "Henry V". As you watch the armies go into battle, it's as if you are standing in the middle of the battlefield itself.

A word of caution to those faint of heart "Braveheart" does get rather bloody at times. This is due to all of the battle scenes, where macho guys skewer each other with wild abandon. At one point blood splatters on the camera lens. It's a beautiful effect.

The only major problem with the film is that the first half-hour is incredibly boring, as it sets up Mel's story by starting with his childhood. So all you see is a young William Wallace being astounded at all of the atrocities happening around him. This includes his father and brother getting killed, and watching murdered noblemen swinging from the rafters of a barn. Frankly, Gibson could have just started with Wallace as an adult and the film would have worked just fine. But these are minor problems, and don't take anything away from the film.

Lastly, Mel Gibson has proven how talented he really is, by doing something few people do in the summer. He's starred in and directed an incredible movie.

So go see "Braveheart" without any expectations, open your mind, and see a film so different from the rest of the gooey summer fare that you would think you were watching "Masterpiece Theatre" by comparison.

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