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"The King Outlaws": David McKenzie's ambiguous attempt to withdraw his "Braveheart"

Uneven historical epic, which simultaneously saved and ruined the enthusiasm of its creator.

7
evaluation

Robert Bruce - a large Scottish lord who, in the war of liberation of William Wallace against England, like many others, surrenders and swears in to the British king. But when Wallace is killed and isolated rebellions break out all over the country, Bruce decides to lead a new resistance to English tyranny. But not all Scots support his uprising - soon Robert will have enemies on both sides, and he, with his miserable army against the imperial machine, must figure out how to win.

Shot from the movie "King Outlaw"

Shot from the movie "King Outlaw"

After success neovesterna "Any price» David McKenzie - The director, who previously shot good but not outstanding dramas, - finally got a chance to carry out his old plan. Remove the historical epic: hard, bloody, large-scale. Tell the world about Robert the Bruce - the man who once continued the work of William Wallace and granted freedom to Scotland.

In The Outlaw King, this specific vibe of the “dream project” is clearly felt - some kind of amazing internal energy, flowing from each frame the desire to do nicely, jump above your head. From the first scene, McKenzie sets up the viewer - especially those who saw his previous film - that this time he will bring all his directorial “tricks” to the peak of his potential. Therefore, if “At any cost” was opened by a beautiful panorama, then the “King is outlawed” - the same panorama, only five times more complicated and elaborate.

Shot from the movie "King Outlaw"

Shot from the movie "King Outlaw"

This desire to certainly make a magnum opus movie is at the same time its main drawback and main advantage. On the one hand, too many mistakes are made by McKenzie in order to forgive him blind enthusiasm so easily - his problematic script rewritten five times often makes itself felt. Here is the heroine Florence Pugh, as if flown into a film from the nineteenth century, begins to produce abstruse philosophical speeches, while the rest mostly growl and bark at each other's teeth. Here the film is trying to put pressure on the viewer with the death of the hero, whom we don’t even really know, but apparently should. There are also frank vulgarities like lovers running along the beach who met after a long separation. This scene I last saw in "Madagascar”, And in a serious historical drama like this does not cause anything but an awkward smile.

Shot from the movie "King Outlaw"

Shot from the movie "King Outlaw"

McKenzie is obviously interested in history, but his people occupy it a little. Even the main character, Robert the Bruce, is perceived by the film more as a pawn on the board of the “great event”, rather than its key link. And this is very disappointing, because the images themselves are completely one hundred percent hits. In eyes Chris Paine - the whole longing of the world mixed with a desperate thirst for revenge. Bestial roar of the mad Aaron Taylor-Johnson even the most impenetrable skeptic will make him believe that the guy has long outgrown sweet indie dramas and sarcastic superheroes. The only exception here is the Prince of Wales Edward performed by a young Billie Howle. Edward and in "Brave heart”Was a rather caricature character, but here he sometimes turns into a villain from cartoons - with eternal saliva in his mouth, round eyes with excitement and not a squealing in lieu of articulate speech.

Shot from the movie "King Outlaw"

Shot from the movie "King Outlaw"

The film simply does not have time for the characters - too many actions and political intrigues need to fit into a modest two-hour timekeeping by the standards of the epic. In vain, of course, McKenzie listened to critics in Toronto and cut out of the "King outlawed" part of the material. He, on the contrary, would not have prevented another hour and a half of screen time, so that the viewer would not have the feeling that he was thrown somewhere in the middle of a historical series. Well, if the epic, so epic, scale, so scale. Otherwise, half-measures come out - and they have not brought anyone to good.

Shot from the movie "King Outlaw"

Shot from the movie "King Outlaw"

But even in the imperfect state in which the “King outlawed” came to us, I don’t want to scold him at all. Largely due to the fact that this animal cinema is simple, very physical, as if bypassing the mind and working primarily on some basic instincts. And no abstruse speeches and scenario mistakes are able to kill this powerful animalistic spirit, from which one wants to growl and run in the kilt to hack the nearest Englishman (but we strictly do not recommend doing this!).

“King outlawed” to the same stressed the old-fashioned: it is easy to imagine a kind of sequel to “Braveheart” (which, we can say, the film is formal and is), working on similar patterns, except a little less competently using them. He is not trying to discover anything - at least, beyond the creative ambitions of his author - but now, when the time of peplums and other big historical dramas is rapidly fading away, he doesn't need to do that. The new, as they say, is well forgotten old.

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