Category Archives: Movie Review

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Movie Review – The Favourite

Category : Movie Review

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

Starring: Emma Stone, Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz

Year: 2018

Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos moved into our American view with the weird hit The Lobster, and further impressed with the even stranger The Killing of a Sacred Deer.  I was lucky enough to stumble across one of this earlier films some years back, Dogtooth, and now here we are with The Favourite, as audiences everywhere begin to understand that we might be in the presence of genius.  Other than another movie, Alps, that’s basically the Lanthimos canon, and while we will all have our favorites, I think Dogtooth and Sacred Deer are both exquisite, and I prod you to check them out, if you’re up for something more than a little wacky.  The Favourite is his newest and perhaps his most polished, and what’s more it has a realistic chance at being nominated for a host of Academy Awards, its leading ladies putting on an acting clinic with the support of one of the best directors working.

Queen Anne of England is as mad as she is lonely, the combination leading to an odd friendship in which Lady Sarah rules the country because she watches over the feeble Queen and pretends to care for her very much.  Perhaps it’s a form of love instead of simple hunger for power, but the line has become blurred, and while the Queen cries like a baby Sarah takes control over matters of state, she and her husband doing whatever they decide is in their own best interest.  But two parties give Sarah challenge: Harley, the leader of the opposition in Parliament, and Abigail, a newly -rrived maid who used to be a lady but whose family has fallen far.  Now Abigail wants to move close to the Queen, to gain her ear, and thus gain prestige, but Sarah can’t allow that to happen, and the two will begin a corrupt, covert, and often comical duel for the mighty seat that sits in the shadow of the throne.

The Favourite won me over slowly but steadily, from an unusual air at the start to a surprising conclusion at the end, and with a host of rarities in between.  Lanthimos has perhaps the most absurd humor to ever be deemed acceptable, but we’re lucky that he somehow strikes the right chord more often than not, because what we get from him we most definitely do not get from anyone else.  It’s comedy and depravity and wit and debasement coming at you in waves, and perhaps the fact that we’re constantly on our toes leads to these wonderful and challenging experiences.  Stone & Weisz are an extraordinary duo, one just peaking and the other having been an acting standard for twenty years.  But it’s Colman who commands the stage, and who has the best shot at an Oscar; she’d get my vote if I were asked at this moment.  The Queen is insane, pathetic, and stupid, but somehow also endearing, and Olivia gives us glimpses of a depth within the character that makes you lean forward and invest yourself much more than you thought you would when you sat down.  And lastly, though it’s a small part, I have perhaps never seen Nicholas Hoult this composed and impeccable, and I’ve watched him in dozens of movies as he’s grown up, but this might be his most perfect role.  While not exactly for the masses, since Lanthimos obviously does not care if you’re uncomfortable or if you’re laughing along, The Favourite is nevertheless one of 2018’s very best.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – The Hate U Give

Category : Movie Review

Director: George Tillman Jr.

Starring: Amandla Stenberg, Russell Hornsby, Regina Hall

Year: 2018

I had low expectations for what I thought would be a YA novel-turned TV movie, but The Hate U Give is stronger than imagined, and does its subject matter justice.  Apart from the quality of the film itself, which perhaps is only mediocre, the topic stands out brightly as something that should be broached in every freshman high school classroom from now on, with this movie at the center of the conversation.  It’s that strong, that important, and although it isn’t perfectly executed, it is definitely fiercely made.

Starr Carter lives a pair of lives simultaneously, Starr Version 1 and Starr Version 2.  Version 1 lives at home with her parents in a rough neighborhood where drug dealers run the streets and kids get shot just trying to play.  Because of this, but unwilling to move, her family sends her to a private school with mostly white kids in a mostly white neighborhood.  Starr is black, feels out of place far too frequently, and doesn’t know what role she has in either neighborhood.  But the death of a friend at the hands of a cop will lead her toward making choices she never thought she’d have to make, to speaking out in a way that perhaps she was born to do.

The first hour of The Hate U Give is riveting, as we meet Starr, get to know her family, learn about the difficult position in which she’s been put, and then see firsthand the tragedy that will lead to the meat of the plot of the film.  It’s a topic we need to discuss, and not only does the movie bring it up so that we are forced to face it, but it also leads us in the conversation.  Basically, it doesn’t just say “hey you need to be aware of this”, it also says “come down this road with the characters and see the world from their point of view.”  It’s powerful, Starr’s story, and I really do think it should become an educational prerequisite.

As far as the film is concerned, the second half does become overdramatic, but for a purpose, so audiences won’t completely blame it, but I did start to lose interest toward the end.  Stenberg and Horsby are both incredible, but Hall is ungodly awful, so the acting is a mixed bag, and you’ll have to pick & choose your favorite performances.  I loved the story, the bold concept, and I’ve heard the book is great, so I need to check it out, but I do also think that the movie’s quality is more on par with younger audiences, not those thinking of this film matching up with other potential Oscar nominees.  It’s just not that well-made, it relies mostly on its plot’s energy to carry it through, which many won’t mind but I couldn’t quite ignore completely.  All in all, The Hate U Give isn’t my favorite film of the year, but I recognize its impact, and I hope young audiences watch it in droves.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Widows

Category : Movie Review

Director: Steve McQueen

Starring: Viola Davis, Colin Farrell, Daniel Kaluuya

Year: 2018

Steve McQueen is focused.  Other than a variety of short films he has directed, he has created four feature films over the past ten years: Hunger, Shame, 12 Years a Slave, and Widows.  That’s dedication to quality right there, no rush, no fluff, just quality, and I can’t applaud that enough.  He looks into the darkness for us and translates what he sees into something that can be put on screen, and I’ll permanently be ready to watch was he does next.  With Widows, he does something original with the gritty, criminal storyline that won’t go unnoticed; he makes it complicated and frenetic and unsound and dumb, because the underworld isn’t glamorous, it’s downright disgusting.  We’ve never seen a heist drama like this before, layered and confused, and I’m not sure we ever will again.

After a job gone wrong, four thieves are killed in a firefight with police on the south side of Chicago.  Along with their bodies, 2 million dollars in cash is burned in the aftermath, the loot they stole from the powerful Manning brothers.  Now the Manning’s want their money back, in the form of a payment from the widows the men left behind.  Veronica is a particular and wealthy woman, Linda is a working mother, Alice is a trophy wife with nowhere to go, and Amanda has been left with an infant; none of them are in a position to stand up to the likes of the criminals who are now breathing down their necks.  If they want the brothers gone, they’ll have pull off Veronica’s late husband Harry’s next score; a 5 million dollar job involving a safe room surrounded by security.  They don’t know the ropes, but they know the consequences of failure, and it’s simply a check they can’t cash.

The summary almost makes the movie seem typical, but I assure you it is far removed form the normal heisty, shoot-em-up dramas we’ve encountered so many times through the years.  Widows is a fresh take on the genre, a breath of clean air to push away the stench of past failures, and somehow also a homage to all those successes who have come before.  McQueen is a master of mood and despair, sowing bleak uncertainty through every moment until you want to turn away, but you simply can’t.  How he did that with this story is remarkable, and there are enough twists to make things even more interesting, while somehow never letting the plot turn into a gimmick.  The cast is incredible: Davis, Farrell, Kaluuya, Liam Neeson, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Robert Duvall, Jacki Weaver, Garret Dillahunt, Kevin J. O’Connor, Matt Walsh, Brian Tyree Henry.  And the action is intense in spurts, with flashbacks and side stories interspersed to keep things moving, which worked perfectly to keep the film fast-paced while also allowing it to wallow in the misery of the characters.  Widows is one of the most solid pieces of cinema I’ve seen this year, with a tantalizing aftertaste that makes me want to watch it again and again.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Crazy Rich Asians

Category : Movie Review

Director: Jon M. Chu

Starring: Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh

Year: 2018

Crazy Rich Asians is about as good as My Best Friend’s Wedding, and that’s not a compliment.  Wait, I take that back; at least My Best Friend’s Wedding was made in the 90s when we didn’t know any better, while Crazy Rich Asians was out in theatres this year, when we really ought to have learned.  Rom/coms of this sort are stupid by definition, and it takes real talent to elevate them out of the syrup onto something somewhat stable.  It’s hard, barely anyone can did it, and just because this film is a step in the right direction for the inclusion of other races in the Hollywood mainstream, that doesn’t mean that anyone on board was prepared to fix a broken genre.  In fact, this story is dumber than most that we’ve been subjected to over the last few decades, with less humor, worse acting, and almost no reason to watch.

Rachel and Nick have been dating for some time in New York City, both are children of Chinese parents, things are going really well, and they’re already thinking about next steps.  For Nick, that means introducing Rachel to his family at a big wedding coming up in Singapore.  That’s a lot of pressure, because he’s not just anyone, he’s Nick Young the heir to the Young Empire, and his family is richer than rich, super rich; crazy rich.  Rachel will have to impress Nick’s mother, who wants her boy to move home and take over the family business, something he has no interest in doing.  Cultures will clash and lessons will be learned, but not before our heroes’ hearts and nerves will by tested and perhaps found much too weak.

John Chu is a director of terrible movies, and he doesn’t change his MO this year: was anyone ever confident that he could?  What made anyone think that the guy behind some of the worst films of the last 10 years could make an original, watchable rom/com?  Seriously; have critics lost their minds?  This movie is a poorer version of too many we’ve seen too often, without an original bone in its body other than its racial vantage point.  This is a movie that was made proudly because it was made Asian, and for that it will be applauded and rightly so.  But that fact has nothing to do with the quality of its acting or of its story, which were both terrible.  The ending was simply awful, the middle was dreadfully boring, and the beginning was a set up we’ve watched a million times. Other than Awkwafina, who I thought was funny, and the attempt to show audiences that it’s OK to cast Asian leads, which is laudable, everything else about this film was abysmal and not worth a second of our time.

My rating: ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Science Fair

Category : Movie Review

Director: Cristina Costantini, Darren Foster

Year: 2018

Making a case for a Best Documentary nomination at this year’s Academy Awards is Science Fair, an aptly named look at high schoolers competing to have the most impactful science fair project of the year at the International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, California.  Presented by National Geographic, this documentary follows the preparation and determination of a handful of students from around the world as they present their finding to many panels of judges, moving up the ranks toward the final competition.  It’s a peek into a world most of us know absolutely nothing about, and at a group of kids who are quite literally trying to change the world.

Starting in small state and local competitions, high school students from around the world begin the arduous journey of bringing their science fair projects to the attention of the scientific community, a task that’s much harder than you might imagine.  This specific year, 1700 kids from around the world, who have already won multiple competitions to get this far, will face off to see who has the best idea/innovation/research in a variety of categories, from health to robotics, from plants to energy.  A young man from Germany develops a one-winged airplane that boasts fuel-efficiency.  A boy from West Virginia teaches computers to think for themselves.  A girl from South Dakota has created a machine to read brain waves to study risky behavior.  These are the minds that are creating our technologies, and here they are at the beginning of their paths, on their way to bright futures.

Science Fair is a great and uplifting documentary, reminding adults that we’ve simply paved the way for a bright group of youth to travel down and improve.  The generations that follow us will decide the path the world walks down, there’s no way it can be otherwise because we’ll all be gone, and sometimes we can feel assured that the Earth is in good hands.  These geniuses and hard workers are crafting new ways to do old things, are curing cancer and solving problems in ways scientists haven’t even begun to imagine.  It’s this driving force that pushes the film as well, and allows audiences to get behind the story, one of dedication and determination that goes beyond simple excellence in schoolwork.  Science Fair might not quite rival Won’t You Be My Neighbor, but it’s still a documentary to be proud of, one that shows us what the best and brightest have to offer.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Support the Girls

Category : Movie Review

Director: Andrew Bujalski

Starring: Regina Hall, Haley Lu Richardson, Dylan Gelula

Year: 2018

Support the Girls is a prime example of message over material, since it definitely has something to say, but has absolutely no clue how to say it.  Bujalski’s only other non-indie feature, Results, has the same feel; as if he had a great idea, convinced some known actors to jump on board, and then couldn’t do anything to see his vision realized.  It’s possible that there’s some talent there, maybe he needs a directing partner, who knows, but it’s also possible that he’s only a writer, not a director, because so far he hasn’t been able to bring anything he’s thought up to life.  Support the Girls is even a step down from Results, a worse realization of an interesting plot, and it will perhaps soon be time to cross this filmmaker off our collective watch list.  His next project is the re-make of Lady and the Tramp, writing not directing, which may be the very last straw.

Lisa is the manager of a sports bar restaurant in Texas called Double Whammies, and she loves her job.  Well, she loves the young girls she works with anyway, helping them when she can, giving them advice when they want it, generally being a den mother to a whole tribe of ladies who need to waitress to make money but also need protected from the assholes who walk in the door.  Double Whammies is like Hooters; yeah they have beer and sports, but men come specifically for the Daisy Dukes and the belly shirts, which is how the place turns a profit, so I guess you get what you ask for.  Lisa isn’t interested in that though, she wants these girls to be provided for when they leave at the end of their shift, wants this weird family to help each other through whatever might come next.  Over the course of a very stressful day, that bond will be stretched to the limit, and Lisa’s positive outlook will begin to darken.

Again, idea over delivery, I can’t emphasize that enough, because the plot is a clever one, the moral is right there for us to see, and the film features strong women exhibiting that in a variety of ways, so hats off to all that success.  But the movie still needs to work as a movie, and that’s where the train jumps the tracks.  Support the Girls brings some of the worst acting you’ll ever see into our living rooms, and for that I’ll never quite forgive it.  Hall is awful, like a parent in their kid’s high school play, and every single one of the Whammy Girls is terrible, like people pulled off the street, with the exception of HLR, who I think has a natural spark.  But god the rest didn’t, the pace dragged, and there wasn’t enough music; scenes were done as static skits with no real mood other than drama club chic.  I can’t believe other critics are so high on this film; I found it boring, poorly-delivered, terribly-acted, and amateurish, leaving me wishing that it have never been attempted so I never would have been subjected to it.

My rating: ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Ralph Breaks the Internet

Category : Movie Review

Director: Phil Johnston, Rich Moore

Starring: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman

Year: 2018

One of the most undervalued Disney movies is Wreck-It Ralph, and although it automatically sounds whiny to label something that way, it can also be perfectly true.  We can’t call it underrated, because it’s extremely well-rated, well-respected, and was even nominated for an Oscar.  But when discussing the best of Disney, we tend to either lean toward the standard princess musicals or the great Pixar classics, while Wreck-It Ralph gets lost somewhere in the middle.  It’s simply too original, with the only real comparison being Toy Story; games coming to life when humans close the doors.  But then along comes Ralph Breaks the Internet to remind us of this spectacular and exciting world, to show us that it can hold its own when compared to the animated universes that come more easily to mind, and to prove its quality even under the most powerful of microscopes.

Ralph and Vanellope have been having the best time together in the years since last we saw them.  They travel between games, hang out over root beers, watch the sun rise over Litwak’s arcade; things are pretty great.  Ralph loves the routine and never wants to leave Vanellope’s side, but she’s feeling a bit stuck in the same old scene, and might want to experience the exciting new, as much as she loves the comfortable old.  Ralph tries to help, but ends up wrecking, go figure, and Vanellope’s game is turned off when a part is broken.  The duo enter the newly acquired Internet to get the part themselves, but soon find themselves in over their heads in a place of endless possibilities.  A series of unfortunate events will cause trouble for the whole world wide web, and might spell the end of an amazing friendship if Ralph can’t learn to fix what he’s unintentionally broken.

I think this is where we all collectively remember how good Wreck-It Ralph was and its status becomes fixed, because Ralph Breaks the Internet is magic.  It’s even better than the original, a rare step forward instead of back, and a film that’s created with so much love its palpable from beginning to end.  It has the heart of Inside Out and the references of Ready Player One, a movie that can move you in any way it chooses, be it because you’re along for the ride emotionally or because you feel like you’re sitting right beside Vanellope as she races for her life.  The originality of the theme can’t be overstated; we’ve seen morals before, like be true to yourself or allow love to lead your way or things of that nature, but I’m not sure we’ve ever seen friendship shine in exactly this manner before.  Get ready to take a look at your own life and judge your own relationships, because it’s not just Ralph who will have to face his insecurities, it’s audiences as well, and that’s not an easy task.

But the movie makes us, we’re better for it, and that’s part of the magic; this story is more than just pictures on a board, it’s one of the most uniquely beautiful depictions of friendship we’re ever likely to see from animation.  And then there’s the Internet, which is imagined perfectly, down to ever last detail, reference, and brainstorm; eBay, Pinterest, YouTube, pop-up ads, avatars, Mad Max villains, Burger Time references.  This is how I’m going to imagine the Internet from now on, and the humor imbedded into the creation strikes just perfectly.  And then there are the amazing characters: Ralph who looks a little like Colin Farrell this time around, Vanellope with that signature Sarah Silverman voice, Alan Tudyk who may go down in history as the best voice-over actor of all time, Gal Gadot, Bill Hader, and all the Disney princesses.  Plus, the way they scripted Felix & Calhoun out of the main action was brilliant, because we didn’t need extra storylines about life back in the arcade, we had enough on our plates with the action in the Net.  I’m not sure what else I can say; Ralph Breaks the Internet is special, it’s very special, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – The Old Man & the Gun

Category : Movie Review

Director: David Lowery

Starring: Robert Redford, Sissy Spacek, Casey Affleck

Year: 2018

David Lowery loves working with Casey Affleck (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, A Ghost Story), and that’s fine with me; I think he’s one of the best actors working, outpacing his more-famous brother by miles (Manchester by the Sea).  Casey is an incredible dramatic actor, he’s a natural emotive force, and while he doesn’t sit well with all audiences, due to the intensity of his methods, I’ve always appreciated that he gives his entire soul to his performances, holding nothing back from those who are willing to receive the brunt of the impact.  But The Old Man & the Gun isn’t about Affleck, who has a smaller part but still works wonders, and should always be appreciated wherever he chooses to pop up.  No, this film is about Robert Redford, who is saying goodbye to his fans with one more ride down a familiar road, and all we can do is say thank you.

This is the true story of Forrest Tucker, a life-long criminal who we can’t help but root for.  In prison off and on since he was a teen, Forrest has never been able to conform to the rules or take his punishment laying down, he’s always needed to live on his own terms, even if that means a lifetime of running.  In his older days, he’s taken to robbing banks wearing a hat and fake mustache, politely telling the managers and tellers that they are being robbed, before walking out of the room with a smile of his face.  His latest exploits have captured the attention of the nation, as he moves from town to town taking what he wants, and making friends along the way.  But crime is crime, and officer John Hunt is determined to stop Tucker, even if he is an old man at the end of his days, a washed up crook who just can’t seem to stop stealing time before the clock runs out.

The Old Man & the Gun was meant as Robert Redford’s swan song, and even if he’s walked back the idea of retirement since the movie was released, it sure feels like the end of an era and a good time to say goodbye.  After all, the man is 82, a legend, has done all he can do, and can’t have too much time left, so we might as well pay respects before he’s gone; it’s a little silly to do it after.  And Redford does the situation justice with a classic role that’s right out of his canon, with a character that is mostly himself and the rest wonderful nostalgia.  The film is nice, it’s an easy watch, you root for the “bad guy”, and you have a good time; I expected and wanted nothing more.  Redford is great, Spacek fills a role pleasantly, Affleck is as strong as always, and I liked the sidekick duo of Danny Glover & Tom Waits, that worked really well.  A period piece, a cool adventure, a chance for a few last laughs; we tip our hats to a cinematic hero.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Category : Movie Review

Director: The Coen Bros.

Starring: Tim Blake Nelson, James Franco, Liam Neeson

Tom Waits, Zoe Kazan, Bill Heck, Tyne Daly, Brendan Gleeson

Year: 2018

The Coen Brothers aren’t afraid to try new things, and apparently that includes a six-part movie straight to Netflix about cowboys and the ways they die.  Sounds simple, but you know you’re getting something a little more complicated from these two men, and from the cast they employ to weave their tale.  Or their ballad, as it were, since the film starts musically and focuses on the title character, although the rest is something far different from what we prepare ourselves for from the beginning.  Perhaps that’s the true lesson within Buster Scruggs; to expect the unexpected, because the stories told here don’t go the way you might expect, which, at times, makes them all the more enjoyable.

Six segments abut each other over a just-over two-hour span, leaving viewers with a taste of Western life and a fear of their own inevitable deaths.  The Ballad of Buster Scruggs introduces us to the fastest son of a gun with a gun, the singing cowboy named Buster who is as quick with a trigger as he is with a tune.  Near Algodones takes us along on a bank robbery, albeit one that doesn’t go as planned and takes its bandit on a bumpy ride.  Meal Ticket shows us the darker side of show business, how the throat you cut to get ahead might be the one you’re supposed to be feeding.  All Gold Canyon presents us with a near-perfect valley, where treasure lies buried and beauty lies all around, but where violence follows close behind.  The Gal Who Got Rattled takes us on the Oregon Trail, a journey fraught with peril and with potential.  And lastly, The Mortal Remains, when a simple setting isn’t what it looks like.

I’m torn between enjoying one of my favorite directing teams and thinking their product was a little too weird.  It starts strangely, gets much better, but never quite overcomes its own oddities to become as good as it could potential have been.  I strongly disliked three stories, I really appreciated three others, so I land somewhere in the middle and can’t wholeheartedly recommend you run to your basement to turn on Netflix and watch this.  It might have worked better as an anthology series, something you could watch a la carte, like Black Mirror, which isn’t always amazing, but has enough moments to make it great.  Buster Scruggs simply isn’t a movie, never feels like a movie, and so suffers since it calls itself one.  Tom Waits is terrific (see him in The Old Man and the Gun as well), Zoe Kazan’s tale I loved, but I can’t think of anyone else who stood out, and at a little over 2 hours, the pacing was a bit tedious at times instead of constantly remaining engaging.  If they really wanted to be experimental, The Co Bros. should have made Buster Scruggs a show, not a film; I really think it would have worked better.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

 


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Movie Review – Outlaw King

Category : Movie Review

Director: David Mackenzie

Starring: Chris Pine, Florence Pugh, Billy Howle

Year: 2018

With a spectacular followup to Hell or High Water and an incredible tribute to Braveheart, Mackenzie and Pine team up once more to make Outlaw King one of the best films of the year, completely separate from its status as a Netflix original movie and completely shocking to those who did not see this war epic coming.  Hell or High Water was one of my favorite films from 2016 and Braveheart is one of my favorite movies of all time, so I was fairly prepared for a stellar achievement, but even I wasn’t ready for the power of Outlaw King, or the originality of its delivery.  Think the Scottish dramas you’ve seen before combined with the brutality of a slaughterhouse and you’ll have some idea what you’re in store for, and if that sounds like something you can appreciate/stomach, wow are you in for a treat.

As William Wallace’s rebellion fails and the legendary hero goes into hiding, Robert Bruce makes peace with the English in order to save what’s left of Scotland.  He and his nobles swear fealty, bend down, but haven’t forgotten, they’re only making the best decision they can with the threat of total annihilation hanging over their heads.  Robert will soon be King if he keeps his nose clean, but the death of Wallace sends a shock wave through the countryside, and the Scots are ready to fight again, though they remain exhausted from years of war.  So Bruce rallies his troops for another open rebellion, but without Wallace the Highlanders don’t come running down from the hills, and a quick death seems Robert’s fated end.  Only fast thinking and sheer, God-granted luck will keep him alive to see his nation free, though many a gruesome battle stands between the dream of independence and its fulfillment.

Mackenzie can direct anything, apparently, from a Neo-Western morality piece to a historic drama that we all thought we’d seen before.  Guess what; we hadn’t, Outlaw King tells another story, and although you’ll recollect some Braveheart if you’re a fan, this is the continuation of that tale, not a recycling.  Chris Pine takes a slightly different approach as well, playing his character with less accent and more introspection, allowing us to feel Bruce and his pain from start to finish.  But, as much as I loved Pine in this role, there are two men who have him outmatched here, and I am still shocked to be saying that.  Billy Howle (On Chesil Beach) as Prince Edward was something special, but Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Godzilla) as Black Douglas was something else entirely, a once-in-a-lifetime performance that should define his career.  So, Pine hasn’t been better since Z for Zachariah, Pugh continues past Lady Macbeth with another strong showing, and the film presents some amazing, dark cinematography to enjoy if what you want with your bleak picture is more bleakness.  More brutal than you were prepared for, more accurate than its predecessors, more moving than I expected; Outlaw King is one of the best 2018 has to offer.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆