I used to think that the history of Scotland around the end of the thirteenth century was one of those really complicated and messy affairs that could send any historian into a fit of sobbing. So imagine my surprise as I discovered it's really all about a bunch of rowdy guys mooning each other across a battlefield and then playing dodgeball.
"Braveheart" is one of those audacious films that implies that war is "bad" by putting the violence at the forefront, slowing it down and tossing in lots of extra blood, piercings, stabbings, castrations, amputations and assorted mutilations with random insertions of Mel's butt -- just to make sure that the women get into it too. This is all topped off by a really long and protracted moment where the camera lovingly dotes on Mel Gibson as he is taken to a platform to be tortured. It's the kind of moment that makes preschoolers point to the screen and say, "Christ figure! Christ figure!" Either that or: "Look! He's shamelessly grooming himself for the Oscars!" (Oscar committees love Christ figures.)
After three delirious hours the message is clear: Buy an ax, kill a lot of people, wear a kilt, show your butt, screw a princess and (if you have some time left over) repeat this over and over and over and over and over... until you get caught. If ever a movie cried out for a halftime break, this was it.
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