Outlaw King (2018)
R | 2h 1min | Action , Biography , Drama | 9 November 2018 (USA)
Synopsis: The untold, true story of Robert the Bruce who transforms from defeated nobleman to outlaw hero during the oppressive occupation of medieval Scotland by Edward I of England. Despite grave consequences, Robert seizes the Scottish crown and rallies an impassioned group of men to fight back against the mighty army of the tyrannical King and his volatile son, the Prince of Wales. Filmed in Scotland, OUTLAW KING reunites director David Mackenzie (Hell or High Water) with star Chris Pine alongside Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Florence Pugh and Billy Howle.
Review: If I can say one thing about the new Netflix film, OUTLAW KING it is that this thing looks amazing. Luckily this is my review so I am not limited to just one thing but can say as much as I want. By now we should be used to Netflix stepping up its game when it comes to original series and films. But I am often still amazed at the attention to craftsmanship that this “streaming service” gives to programming.
Having Chris Pines (Robert the Bruce) name attached to the project doesn’t hurt the draw either. We know he has the talent to bring complex characters, full of inner turmoil, to life. He does it here convincingly. I personally just really like the guy. I was concerned that I would keep seeing Kirk (James T from the Star Trek Series) in there somewhere but the setting and costume design grounded it perfectly. (more review below)
The main issue I had was trying to keep straight who everyone is. That is more on me than the writers. Any of these history films – or even Lord of the Rings – takes a while for me to sort out. I still can’t tell you who was who in Braveheart or Rob Roy. This did not take me out of the moment or frustrate me. I just rooted for the characters I knew and hoped it worked out for the best.
The film is rated R for sequences of brutal war violence, some sexuality, language and brief nudity. People didn’t play around back then. They would cut a guy without thinking twice. The wars in this one get crazy graphic and the squeamish may need to avert their eyes. At the same time this is another element that elevates this one to not just a simple telling of a story.
You usually have to wait for films like OUTLAW KING to finally hit Blu-ray or on-demand. The fact that Netflix creates this solid of a flick and allows it instant access to its subscribers hopefully is a foreshadowing of what is to come.