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Braveheart

Year: 1995
Studio: Paramount
Director: Mel Gibson
Writer: Randall Wallace
Cast: Mel Gibson, Brian Cox, Sophie Marceau, Brendan Gleeson
Huge and sweeping epic directed by and starring Gibson, also one of the ones usually accepted nowadays that the Academy Awards got wrong, falling victim to that strange phenomenon where a movie's reputation sinks gradually over time.

And in hindsight, they may well have lavished too much praise over it. Although beautifully filmed, staged and designed and with every hallmark of a big, epic adventure, the story was very cut and dried with no room for ambiguity or moral dilemmas. Gibson and the Scots are the good guys, and all the British are nasty, dastardly villains down to their moustache twirling.

Maybe it was the only device that would hook the audience into accepting and cheering for the unprecedented slaughter in a mainstream movie as Gibson turns from farmboy and lover to one man army, hacking, slashing and spearing his way through the British military as rebel hero William Wallace.

Spurring the British back from overtaking Scotland in the 13th century, Wallace is painted here as a blue faced Luke Skywalker, but with the all the compassion of The Terminator. Slicing the throat of one of his foes open and smashing the head of another with one of those swinging steel ball things is just the beginning.

It's a war, an adventure and almost a splatter film all rolled into one, somewhat beating you over the head with morals but a cinematic achievement and the calling card for a unique directing talent.

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