Scotland battles for its soul against England, as David Mackenzie’s gutsy historical drama brings underdog Robert the Bruce thrillingly to life.
Dir David Mackenzie
Prod David Mackenzie, Gillian Berrie, Steve Golin, Richard Brown
Scr David Mackenzie, Bash Doran, James MacInnes
With Chris Pine, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Florence Pugh, Billy Howle, Stephen Dillane
UK Distribution Netflix
Scotland, 1304. English King Edward has triumphed, William Wallace is in hiding and the nobles north of the border have been forced into submission. Although he is a favourite for the Scottish throne, Robert the Bruce (Chris Pine) remains steadfast in his desire to end the occupation and as his unease at the treatment of his subjects increases, plans for insurrection ferment. With the ruthless Prince of Wales as his foe, Robert quickly discovers that playing fair is not rewarded, and when the Prince gives the decree to ‘Raise the Dragon!’, the time of chivalry is officially over, and it’s a no-holds-barred fight for Scotland’s existence. Pine exudes gravitas and charisma as both a strong ruler and beloved man of the people. He’s supported by a cracking ensemble cast, supplying flesh and blood to battle scenes, while rising star Florence Pugh (also appearing at the Festival in Special Presentation, The Little Drummer Girl) is superb as Robert’s spirited English wife. As a director, Mackenzie has often explored the nuances of machismo, and it’s with obvious relish that he works on such a grand scale here. A bold vision of the era, Outlaw King is a hugely entertaining epic set amid the jaw-dropping beauty of the Scottish landscape.
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