Swords-and-kilts epic pro­vides ad­ven­ture along with his­tory

The Province - - ENTERTAINMENT - — Chris Knight

Pitched mid­way be­tween a his­tory les­son and a sword­sand-kilts epic, Out­law King tells the story of 14th-cen­tury Scot­tish monarch Robert the Bruce, who you may re­mem­ber as a mi­nor char­ac­ter in Mel Gib­son’s 1995 film Brave­heart.

He’s front and cen­tre in di­rec­tor and co-writer David Macken­zie’s film, which stars Chris Pine and cov­ers a rel­a­tively brief pe­riod, from a Scot­tish sur­ren­der to Ed­ward I (Stephen Dil­lane) in 1304, to a de­ci­sive bat­tle three years later that would lead to an­other 400 years of Scot­tish in­de­pen­dence.

Along the way he weds El­iz­a­beth de Burgh. Since it’s an ar­ranged mar­riage, the gal­lant Robert waits for her to make the first con­ju­gal move. In fact, he seems pretty reluc­tant in all things. His mur­der of a coun­try­man (played by Cal­lan Mul­vey), in a church no less, got Robert ex­com­mu­ni­cated by the Pope, but the film doesn’t think less of him for it.

Fi­delity to the his­tor­i­cal record (not in all things, but it tries) means Out­law King is of­ten bogged down in pol­i­tics, mil­i­tary feints, ne­go­ti­a­tions and the busi­ness of re­cruit­ing sol­diers. But there’s still enough ad­ven­ture to en­ter­tain, and here’s to Macken­zie for tak­ing the high road.

Out­law King starts stream­ing Nov. 9 on Net­flix.

— NET­FLIX

Out­law King is an en­ter­tain­ing romp through Scot­tish his­tory.

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