Braveheart (1995)

Braveheart
Directed by Mel Gibson
Written by Randall Wallace
(number 328)

When this movie came out, it was one of those Hollywood moments where two very similar films came out at the same time. My family went to see the other one, Rob Roy. I really liked Rob Roy, I couldn’t see how Hollywood and Mel Gibson could have done a better version of a similar story. Not the same story, obviously, but… very similar.

I may have seen this at a sleepover at a friend’s house, actually. She really loved it, and I may have seen it then but I also may have mostly slept through it. I am at least a quarter Scottish. I should be loving the history lesson here, but good lord why is it three hours long?

It looks so cold there. It looks a lot like New Zealand actually, the hills and the trees. The greenness of it, the large arching sky.

Good Lord, Prima Nocta.. this movie, if nothing else demonstrates how awful an idea it is. Can we please stop giving Iron Man a pass for joking about it in the Avengers? Please ? Literal sanctioned rape. Anyway, it’s a really good way to make the bad guys unforgiveable.

The battle scenes are big, epic, impressive.. well. I imagine that they were at the time. In a post Lord of the Rings world, where epic battles just get bigger and more elaborate all the time I can’t say I was particularly blown away. At the time though, CG wasn’t really a thing, so they really did have to have 6000 extras, and that’s pretty impressive.

Oh hey, evil, weak gay people. Representation matters and this is one of many examples of gay people being the villains – the prince is clearly weak and foppish, despised by his father, and the fact that he is gay/bi is the subject of court gossip. And then of course, his lover, Philip is thrown unceremoniously out a window. So, we have the two man LGBTQA tropes present: gay people are evil and one of them is killed before the end of the movie. So… yeah, this is that crap representation we’re all hoping will die out soon.

Does it make me love the people? The love story at the beginning is sweet, it made me care about William and Murron. They’re both exceptionally pretty and filmed in very flattering ways. It seems very uncomfortable to make love standing up on a waterfall but it looks nice on camera. Once things start going bad though I found myself unable to keep affection for William.

Bechdel test: Two French noble women talk to each other, but it’s about William Wallace and the man one of them slept with the night before. So, although we have a bunch of women named, they only talk to or about the men.

Best line:

“It’s tearing me apart!” ) but only because of the Room.

William Wallace: There’s a difference between us. You think the people of this country exist to provide you with position. I think your position exists to provide those people with freedom. And I go to make sure that they have it.

State of Mind: Thank goodness it’s over? Like, it’s brutal. So much torture and death. I didn’t enjoy it very much, I don’t understand why it’s so beloved and I’m not going to watch it again. I got bored enough while watching it that I started a thread on facebook for teenage crushes, and that was a lot of fun.

Watched movie count

Gallipoli (1981)

Gallipoli
Directed by Peter Weir
Written by Peter Weir and David Williamson
(number 317)

Familiar director’s name… Peter Weir. Oh right. Dead Poet’s Society, Truman Show, Witness. One of these directors who I like without realising that I like them. It’s with trepidation I started this movie up, because dear god, I learned about Gallipoli as a child. I know how badly this goes for the ANZACS. I had a great-grandfather at El Alamein. There’s just no way this is going to be an uplifting movie.

Damn this film. Having a half hour opening sequence with the boys just being so damn cute and Australian and full of hope, etc etc. Being excited about running races. Perfect for making me love them as people before the inevitable putting through Hell that will happen at the war. Then they’re in the army and just being cute, excited lads in Egypt and I can feel the doom getting closer and closer.

The format of the film reminds me of Full Metal Jacket, actually. The start with the innocence and the training, etc and then the travel to the place at war with a little fun, a little frivolity and then the harsh, stark reality of war and death.

Once they were at Gallipoli it still held off on the horror. In fact there were baby Mel Gibson butt shots and jokes and the contrast between the men who’d been there too long and the new arrivals. But once the fighting began in earnest you feel the dispair. The film doesn’t shy away from showing glimpses of what it means to know you’re about to die – men taking off their medals, wedding rings, writing letters to loved ones to leave behind. Hoping that somehow it’ll be transported back home.

Does it make me love the people? Hell yes. Archy first, so young and fresh faced and pretty. Then baby Mel Gibson, Frank. He’s brilliant in this movie, just brilliant. Playing a line between genuine and smarmy and rocking it. You do feel for the men as things get worse.

Bill Hunter (mandatory role in any Australian film) is likewise amazing as Major Barton, stuck in between a stupid decision from higher up and whether the young men in his care live or die.

Bechdel test: No, there’s a couple of women here and there but this is a movie about Australian lads and the trials they face.

Best line:

Jack: What are your legs?
Archy Hamilton: Springs. Steel springs.
Jack: What are they going to do?
Archy Hamilton: Hurl me down the track.
Jack: How fast can you run?
Archy Hamilton: As fast as a leopard.
Jack: How fast are you going to run?
Archy Hamilton: As fast as a leopard!
Jack: Then let’s see you do it!

Major Barton: I won’t ask my men to do what I won’t do myself.

State of Mind: Fuck war. Much as expected, from what I knew going in for Gallipoli, this wasn’t ever going to go well. I didn’t expect to enjoy this movie as much as I did though, it’s total genius. Beautifully made character stuff with no punches pulled about the idiocy of the maneuvers. Damn, though the early part of the film, the sequence of the race Archy does barefoot against a man on horseback. It’s really a lovely film. I may even watch it again, I’ll just maybe… stop it at a certain point.

Watched movie count