Braveheart Wins Two Golden Statuettes (review)
- Film & History: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Film and Television Studies
- Center for the Study of Film and History
- Volume 25, Numbers 1-2, 1995
- pp. 58-76
- Additional Information
Fyre | BraveheartWins Two Golden Statuettes · Dvorak | Braveheart:A Distant Hero Robert Fyne Kean College Braveheart Wins Two Golden Statuettes (Produced and directed by MeI Gibson. Paramount Pictures; 179 minutes) ien it comes to recreating historical events, few industries can match the unlimited resources of Hollywood, whose deep-lens cameras never miss a sprocket, producing motion pictures that combine star power, entertainment, and profit. As for the facts, just follow the scriptwriters' nimble fingers tapping authoritatively on their QWERTY keyboard sturning out the "truth" for audiences everywhere. Certainly, everybody knows that F. Murray Abraham, a jealous court musician, poisoned Mozart. Look at Kevin Costner, our nimble New Orleans district attorney who with some help from Ockham's razor quickly solved the Kennedy assassination. Don't forget Matthew Broderick and Denzel Washington, the two bluecoats responsible for the Union victory at Gettysburg. Give Wallace Berry some credit! Wasn't he the adipose adventurer who helped John Boles deliver General Garcia's message? Speaking of waistlines, do not pooh-pooh General Leslie Groves. While working on the Manhattan Project, he quickly shed fifty pounds from his pudgy frame when Paul Newman stepped into his shoes. What about hedonistic Marlene Dietrich? Wasn't she the Germanborn scarlet empress who set the standards for Slavic intransigence? Need another example? Take a peek at Paramount Pic-a compact history lesson, but other factors were responsible tures' thirteenth century, Scottish adventure yarn, Braveheart,for the film's popularity. How did the moguls pull it off? the spare-no-expense or mountain scenery epic that recentlyWhy did millions of cash-spending denizens jam into their was awarded two accolades from the Academy ofMotion Pic-multicinemax emporiums to see a three-hour primer about ture Arts and Sciences brethren. Starring, produced, and di-Scottish history? rected by the Australian-raised, blue^yed Mel Gibson, theMostviewers> ofcours6j enjoy vicarious thriHs and photoplay,writtenby RandallWallace, purports to recreateBravehearthas pulled outevery cinematic stop including the life and times ofSirWilliam Wallace, the Scotsman whomidt romance> unbridled heroism, gorgeous wide-angled ledhis peoplein a protracted struggle againstthe existingphotography, and a castofthousands clashing in thundering British rule by organizing an army ofthe commons thathand-to-hand combat to create a storyline that fuses the routed the English garrison and for ayear, ruled Scotland.rebound qualities ofany Bugs Bunny cartoon with the worst Defeated at the famous longbow battle at Falkirkshenanigans ofevery Die Hard saga. While the film teems (1298), Wallace remained at large until his capture (1305)with horrific scenes of decapitation, disembowelment, and subsequent public execution. Overall, these events form_ art\c\p continues Daae 76 58 I Film & History Various I Articles continued from previous pages Braveheartcontinued from page 58 immolation , impalement, and garrote, there is also room for boy-loves-girl tenderness, long walks in the countryside, and an ode to Scottish independence. Saddled on his white horse, Mel Gibson looking dapper with his fake, flowing hair and palsy blue war paint is Everyman's vision of acumen and prowess. The English have invaded their homeland. No problem . Mr. Gibson will push them back to Hadrian's Wall. And ifsome British lord wants to exercise his droit du seigneur. Mr. Gibson will slit the man's throat. The English king, Edward I, plans a nightly assassination. What a joke! Mr. Gibson will entrap the would-be murderers and burn them alive. Need a little romance? Why not take up with Edward's wife and enjoy an after-hours tryst? Who could possibly find out? Overall, Braveheart comes off as one of the most violent screenplays ever made and its gratuitous gory scenes are questionable. How often must a filmgoer watch some English nobleman's severed head bounce across the battlefield like a misplaced bowling ball or another slow death by strangulation? How about that galloping stallion romping through a lord's bedchamber while his rider swings a deadly ball-and-chain pulverizing the skull of his sleeping victim and plunging out an open window, falling fifty feet into murky water, only to trot away unharmed? Did director Gibson need to spend the last fifteen minutes depicting such an inhuman public execution of William Wallace? Why are veins, intestines, and extremities spewed over...