Game of Thrones fans waiting for the show to return next year can get their medieval fix early with the new Netflix original Outlaw King. The movie, while slow-moving at times, tells the story of Scotland and England’s tumultuous past with stunning visuals and intense battle scenes.
Directed by David Mackenzie, the historical epic takes place in the 14th century when King Edward I of England takes control of Scotland. The Scots do not want to be under English rule and unite against the crown under nationalist “Robert the Bruce” later King Robert I of Scotland.
Robert (Chris Pine) seizes the Scottish crown in an attempt to rally the Scots around him. The first half of the movie consists of Robert bringing together the Scots to fight the overwhelming might of the English army.
Outlaw King is a classic underdog story. Most of the movie is depressing — it seems like everything bad that can possibly happen to Robert does. Allied villages and castles are destroyed; his brother and uncle are killed; his wife and daughter are captured. It’s definitely a slow-moving story; this creates tension but leaves the audience wanting something to happen before the very end of the movie.
The last fight scene, the Battle of Loudoun Hill, is bloody and brutal. Robert’s army looks tiny compared to the English forces. Despite this, the Scots win and Robert has his first victory in the movie, which has been disheartening up to this point. The victory is surprising but satisfying after all the hardships Robert endured throughout the story. The Scots defeat the English and Robert and his family are finally reunited.
Undeniably, the visuals are incredible throughout Outlaw King. The epic battle scenes are brutal, but so realistic and entertaining you can’t take your eyes off them. The intricate armor, chain mail and fighting garb enhances the movie’s medieval appeal. Netflix continues to astound with their detailed costumes and powerful cinematography.
Chris Pine, as expected, was lovely to look at during Outlaw King with his piercing blue eyes and rugged beard, but he didn’t live up to his acting potential. He was either brooding or killing, and there wasn’t much else to his character. I wish Robert showed more emotion and passion throughout, not just when stabbing Englishmen.
Overall, the historical epic is enjoyable to watch, especially if you are a Games of Thrones junkie. Outlaw King is a perfect winter evening movie, filled with blood and revenge and drama. The underdog story is heartbreaking but rewarding — as long as you make it to the end.