David Mackenzie’s Outlaw King tells the story of Robert the Bruce, a Scot who led the rebellion against the ruling English. Chris Pine takes on the role, with support from the marvellous Florence Pugh as his wife and the likes of Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Tony Curran as his brothers in arms.
The story begins with Robert and a group of other Scottish lords begrudgingly pledging their allegiance to the English King, their rebellion having failed to really get off the ground. However, when William Wallace is killed, his death sparks a fire in the Scottish people that was somehow lacking during the previous rebellion attempt. Robert decides that it’s now or never and begins another rebellion against the English because if he does nothing, the Scottish people will have nothing left.
As his followers crown him the new Scottish King, the English start to up their attacks by way of retaliation. Before long, Robert soon sees the full scale of what he has signed up for, as his loved ones are threatened, captured or killed and he is forced to leave his home and search for more recruits.
Outlaw King has the feel of a big sweeping epic, with gorgeous shots of the Scottish landscape. There is also some insanely impressive camera work throughout, from very long takes (one that includes an equally impressive sword fight) to those that are up close and personal during the gruesome battle sequences – seriously, you can practically smell the mud.
Yet, despite the grand scale of it all, it retains enough of a personal touch to make you really invest in the characters themselves. Aaron Taylor-Johnson holds nothing back as Robert’s warrior friend, determined to restore his family’s good name. Florence Pugh also holds her own as Robert’s honest and sweet, firm but fair new wife. She’s not afraid to stand up to the English invaders when necessary and protect both her new home and her new people. Pine is both the caring and sweet father and husband and the great and powerful leader. He also does his bit for equality between the sexes by not leaving his female co-star to go naked all on her own.
Overall, the film has plenty of blood, gore and action and really lends itself to a big screen. What a shame then that this one is going to be on Netflix for your enjoyment soon.
Outlaw King is in select cinemas and launching globally on Netflix on 9 November.