Outlaw King is a movie about the other hero of the 14th-century War of Scottish Independence. As Braveheart told us about William Wallace, this story is about Robert the Bruce. When the Scottish monarch died without a descendent, the lords called upon Edward I of England to chose a successor, a process known as the Great Cause. Instead he invaded Scotland and seized power. The Scottish lords rebelled but the superior English army prevails and the lords finally submitted. Only Wallace continues to fight. However, when he is captured and killed, the civil unrest convinces Robert the Bruce to take arms again. He is crowned king of the Scots in 1306 and, despite being outnumbered and a series of early defeats (like the battle of Methven), he succeeds, through guerrilla warfare, to push back the invader and finally defeat Edward II at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. He remains King of the Scots until his death in 1329 and is succeeded by his son, David. Ultimately, through his daughter Marjorie, one of his descendants (James VI/I, son of Mary, Queen of Scots) will reign over both Scotland and England (1603-1625). He is still today revered as a national hero.
This is a beautiful and enthralling historical movie about honour, power, courage and strength. Unfortunately, like most movies, it favours drama over historical accuracy. I particularly like the gritty and realistic depiction of the period, which feels just like Outlander (the first season is similarly about the Jacobite rising of 1745 culminating with the defeat at the Battle of Culloden) or Game of Thrones (some actors of this series appear in the movie: James Cosmo, Stephen Dillane and Clive Russell), but without the fantasy elements.
Outlaw King, starring Chris Pine (Star Trek), Florence Pugh and Aaron Taylor Johnson, premiered at TIFF in September and was released on Netflix (and select theaters) on November 9th. It is rated R because of some full frontal nudity and graphic violence. The movie was liked but without too much enthusiasm (rating of 63% / 68% on Rotten Tomatoes, 7.0 on IMDb). It is very interesting if you are a fan of Scottish historical action movies, but remains quite entertaining nevertheless.
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