David Mackenzie directs Chris Pine, Florence Pugh and Stephen Dillane in this historical epic retelling Robert The Bruce’s rebellion.
Mackenzie is a director who has always been special but seemed to have recently hit his groove. Chris Pine is a reliable movie star of the old school mode; handsome, masculine and charismatic. This would have been an opening weekend essential viewing for us if released at the multiplex. Instead it has floated around on my Netflix list, never quite fighting its way in front of other, often lesser, direct-to-streaming films for my immediate attention. Maybe big, gory, hacky, splashy, landscapey, chainmaily and silky productions like this belong at the cinema. It never really takes hold or wows on my IPad. I casually halfheartedly watched it on my chest, maybe the tablet itself split my heart, it certainly didn’t rouse it. The battles and the earnest heroics lack the flow and colourful rhythmic brutality of its spiritual cousin Braveheart. Pine seems subdued, and it is not just my 9 inch screen restricting him. Can’t be. Florence Pugh radiates in her smaller role.