OUTLAW KING -Rated R – 2 hrs. 1 min.
DIRECTOR: David Mackenzie
WRITERS: Bathsheba Doran, David Mackenzie, James MacInnes, David Harrower, Marek Bomback
STARRING: Chris Pine, Stephen Dillane, Rebecca Robin,
Based on the Untold True Story
Netflix’s “Outlaw King” follows the unbelievable true story of Robert the Bruce (Chris Pine) and his famous uprising during the 14th century against King Edward’s (Stephen Dillane) brutal rule over Scotland. After swearing loyalty to the crown, Robert is betrothed to a young Elizabeth Burgh (Florence Pugh). After the passing of his father, Robert is no longer willing to live under the King’s law and he forms a rebellion with his brothers and any others who want to take back their land. Traveling from castle to castle, they encounter a young James Douglas (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) who wants nothing more than to get his birthright back. Robert, King of Scots has his army and his sights on winning-back his rightful country from King Edward, his son Edward, Prince of Wales (Billy Howle), and their army.
Re-teaming with his star from “Hell of High Water”, director David Mackenzie certainly has an eye worthy of this story. His battle scenes are absolutely stunning; showing the harsh reality of war and it’s deadly cost. Making the “Battle of the Basterds” seem like child’s play, his harsh encounter under the gloomy skies in the mud is breathtaking. Pine does enough with his accent to sell his performance, but, aside from a “Braveheart”-esque speech, I was left wanting more. His opposite, Pugh, is not nearly given enough either. However, Taylor-Johnson steals the show (when he is on the screen) as an angry, focused warrior; he clearly is having a blast! The rest of the cast is made-up of recognizable faces that complete the 14th century-Scotland feel.
“Outlaw King” does carry its struggles, though. The film feels very tonally confused throughout, as some of the dialog choices and character interactions in no way feel authentic. My joke in-particular about a man’s stamina was laughably-bad. it honestly took you out of the movie for a moment and ask yourself, “Did that really just happen?” The film also had an odd relationship with death. While some of them were handled well and with the right touch, others were quite forced and extremely-rushed. In the new medium of enjoying entertainment from the comfort of your own home, “Outlaw King” is certainly deserving of a watch. There are plenty of violent, bloody thrills to entertain and the film’s story is a joy to those who enjoy history. It’d be difficult for me to recommend paying for this at the theater during this hectic time of year at the box office, but I would thoroughly recommend that you take advantage of your favorite couch or chair and press play; sit back and enjoy!
OUTLAW KING is rated R for sequences of brutal war violence, some sexuality, language and brief nudity, in theaters and on Netflix NOW!