Rob Roy (USA, 1995)

facebookDirected by: Michael Caton-Jones. What can I say? I really like Liam Neeson. And I’d see just about anything with Tim Roth or John Hurt or Brian Cox in it. And I really like historical films. And I’m interested in anything having to do with Scottish history. I have to admit—Braveheart is pretty enjoyable. However, I’m inclined to say that Braveheart—another big-budget American Hollywood epic about a notable Scottish historical figure, also from 1995—is a much better film than this one. On paper, it shouldn’t make much difference: the setting is a few centuries later, and the star is Liam Neeson rather than Mel Gibson (which should automatically tip a few points in favour of this film). Both films squeeze their respective historical basis into the standard Hollywood hero framework, shredding the factual content and dousing the story with way too much overt sentimentality, simplistic portrayals of good and evil, and one-dimensional characterization. And whereas Rob Roy has some pretty edgy, uncomfortable sexual elements in it (mostly from Brian Cox) that make it pretty weird, and whereas Braveheart is generally a big stinky shit of a movie, I’d say that Gibson’s joint somehow, somehow manages to deliver a swift narrative, a continuously moving emotional arc, and basically a more concise Hollywood vehicle than Rob Roy does. I’m open to the idea that we don’t have to judge this film by the standards of standard megaplex lore, that we could weigh it as an experimental piece of art cinema, which would peg it somewhere closer to The Room perhaps. But it still seems to me that, all in all, Rob Roy is trying, and not quite succeeding, at something that Braveheart did quite masterfully. But, then again, they both kind of suck.


2 responses to “Rob Roy (USA, 1995)

  1. Pingback: List of Judgements, Anno Domini 2012 | Offhand Reviews·

  2. Pingback: Murphy’s Law, Series Four (UK, 2006) | Offhand Reviews·

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