Tag Archives: Stephen Dillane

Outlaw King (2018) Review

Time: 121 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1]
Cast:
Chris Pine as Robert the Bruce
Aaron Taylor-Johnson as James Douglas
Florence Pugh as Elizabeth de Burgh
Billy Howle as Edward, Prince of Wales
Tony Curran as Angus MacDonald
Lorne MacFadyen as Nigel Bruce
Alastair Mackenzie as Lord Atholl
James Cosmo as Robert de Brus
Callan Mulvey as John III Comyn
Stephen McMillan as Drew Forfar
Paul Blair as Bishop Lamberton
Stephen Dillane as King Edward I of England
Director: David Mackenzie

After being crowned King of Scotland, legendary warrior Robert the Bruce (Chris Pine) is forced into exile by the English and leads a band of outlaws to help him reclaim the throne.

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I heard about Outlaw King for a while. It’s a Netflix movie about Robert the Bruce starring Chris Pine and was directed by David Mackenzie, who made Hell or High Water. I didn’t know much about the subject matter or really what to expect going in outside of that. Despite hearing some mixed things about it, I actually really liked it. It’s on such a large scale and was directed incredibly well, and the cast are fantastic. It is held back rom being as great as it could’ve been by the lack of characterisation and the ending, but it’s nonetheless a really good movie and are well worth the watch.

Outlaw King is 2 hours long but it’s worth noting that 20 minutes were cut from the cut that was first screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, after the runtime and pacing were criticised in early reviews. Apparently, the cut material included a battle scene, a major confrontation backdropped by a waterfall, an eight minute chase sequence and a scene in which Robert the Bruce met William Wallace in the woods. As I didn’t watch the 2 hour and 20 minute cut, I can’t speak to what the removed footage is like or how it worked in the movie. On the whole I was actually liking the movie quite a bit, I didn’t get why some people were having a problem with it. I didn’t really know what to expect with the movie and I followed it pretty well from start to finish, I was invested. One problem that occurred to me however over time was that they weren’t particularly great with the characterisation. This movie definitely seems more plot focussed than character focussed, and the characters here were more used to move the plot forward. We don’t really get to learn much about the characters and people and are really instead just watching them doing things. That’s not to say that we don’t enjoy watching them or anything like that, but that’s probably because of the heavy lifting done by the cast. It turns out that Outlaw King had like 5 writers, the plot had my interest and all that but the whole movie wasn’t quite great.. I heard a criticism about it being some inaccuracies, but I don’t know much about Robert the Bruce or anything like that, so I’ve really got nothing to say on the matter. Then there’s the ending, which is really abrupt. At the end of the movie there’s a battle scene and then after it ends it has these subtitles that pop on screen to explain what happened afterwards, there’s like maybe another brief scene and that’s it. Kind of a disappointing end to an otherwise mostly solid movie.

Despite the characters not really receiving much development and all that, the cast is great and elevated their parts quite a bit. Chris Pine is typically great in the lead role as Robert the Bruce, Pine has now given two of his all time best performances through working with David Mackenzie (the other performance being in Hell or High Water), and I really hope they continue working with each other. He’s quite believable in the role he’s playing (full disclosure, don’t know much about Robert the Bruce) and he pulls off the Scottish accent really well. He’s also very impressive in the big battle scenes. The rest of the cast including Florence Pugh, Billy Howle, Tony Curran, Stephen Dillane and really every actor in this movie do great jobs in their roles. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is actually a standout here, he’s in a rather unhinged role and he particularly shone in the more violent scenes. Both Nocturnal Animals and now Outlaw King have proven ATJ as an actor not to underestimate or overlook.

David Mackenzie showed himself to be a great director with Hell or High Water, and Outlaw King only solidified this. This movie is on such a huge scale, everything from the production design, the costumes, the locations, all of that was fantastic. The cinematography was also great. One of the stand out moments of the movie was the first scene, which is an 8 minute long take and it was immaculately done. Where the film particularly shone was in the big battle scenes, they don’t hold back at all with the violence and as I said, so much was on a large scale. In that, I feel like it should’ve been released in cinemas instead of Netflix, definitely try to watch this one on the biggest screen that you can find.

Outlaw King is maybe not quite as great as it could’ve been with aspects with the characters and the endings not being done all that well, but it was almost at that level. The cast were great and David Mackenzie directed it all incredibly well. It’s well worth the watch, and is one of Netflix’s better released films.

Darkest Hour (2017) Review

Time: 125 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Coarse language
Cast
Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill
Kristin Scott Thomas as Clementine Churchill
Ben Mendelsohn as George VI
Lily James as Elizabeth Layton
Ronald Pickup as Neville Chamberlain
Stephen Dillane as Viscount Halifax
Director: Joe Wright

A thrilling and inspiring true story begins at the precipice of World War II as, within days of becoming Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) must face one of his most turbulent and defining trials: exploring a negotiated peace treaty with Nazi Germany, or standing firm to fight for the ideals, liberty and freedom of a nation. As the unstoppable Nazi forces roll across Western Europe and the threat of invasion is imminent, and with an unprepared public, a skeptical King (Ben Mendelsohn), and his own party plotting against him, Churchill must withstand his darkest hour, rally a nation, and attempt to change the course of world history.

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Darkest Hour was a movie that I’ve been getting a little interested in. It’s a movie about Winston Churchill starring Gary Oldman and directed by Joe Wright, so of course I was somewhat curious about it. Darkest Hour is a pretty good movie overall, with some great performances, solid direction and a decently well done story. I wouldn’t say that it’s a great movie as a whole but it’s still worth watching.

I was interested enough in what was going on throughout the majority of the movie, it does drag at some points and I’d be lying if I said that I was completely riveted from start to finish but I was interested enough. Keep in mind that this isn’t a full on Churchill biopic, it covers him taking on the responsibilities of Prime Minister of Britain after being brought in to replace Chamberlain, and includes him dealing with the Dunkirk event while being faced with adversity within his own government. In terms of accuracy I can’t comment on it. However, there is a very out of place scene that involved Churchill on a train that I’m sure didn’t take place at all. I could tell what this scene is meant to show and why it was here in the first place, but the way it was done just felt so ridiculous and I couldn’t take it seriously at all. Aside from that rather distracting moment, it’s a rather solid movie overall.

Gary Oldman is great as Winston Churchill, you can’t really tell that it’s Oldman throughout the performance. Yes of course the makeup of course changes his physical appearance a lot but everything from his voice and the way he acted was very transformative as well, it’s not just Gary Oldman in heavy makeup trying to act as Winston Churchill. I will admit, at many points I couldn’t really tell what he was saying because of how much he mumbled but I guess maybe that’s just the way that Churchill talked. Otherwise this is a very good performance. The supporting cast was also solid and deserve some praise as well. We have Ben Mendelsohn as King George VI, Kristin Scott Thomas as Churchill’s wife, Lily James as Churchill’s secretary and Ronald Pickup and Stephen Dillane as Neville Chamberlain and Viscount Halifax respectively and they all do a great job.

Joe Wright did quite well in directing this. The cinematography, set designs, costumes and the score by Dario Marianelli all work together quite well. The makeup and fat suit on Gary Oldman also worked quite well in transforming him into Winston Churchill and it never felt like it was overkill, it was just right.

Darkest Hour is a pretty solid movie with Joe Wright returning to form (at least in comparison to his last film Pan) and with the performances being the highlight, especially Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill. Darkest Hour is also a pretty good accompany piece to Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk and watching both of them will probably increase your enjoyment of both of them. I’m not quite sure how most audiences will find the overall movie but I will say that it is worth watching for Gary Oldman’s performance at the very least.