Outlaw King

My friend Kevin Harty reviews David Mackenzie’s Outlaw King (2018) for Medievally Speaking. The king in question is Robert the Bruce (1274-1329), who ruled Scotland from 1306. Excerpt:

The medieval historical epic has been a cinematic staple for more than a century.  The reasons are obvious—such films present larger than life characters whose stories are the stuff of legend.  But the golden age of the medieval historical epic has long past. In Outlaw King, except for two very brief scenes, a wedding and a funeral, in which the costume and wardrobe department seems to have decided to blow the budget, gone is the pageantry, the epic sweep, the panoramic long shot—think how Charlton Heston as the eponymous hero in Anthony Mann’s 1961 El Cid goes riding off into the sunset in the film’s final, awe-inspiring scene, and compare that scene and ride with the domesticity more than evident in Robert’s final rush on horseback to embrace his wife, who has been uncaged and returned to him as part of a prisoner exchange. Robert is not here riding off into history and legend. He is simply going home to his wife and daughter. Outlaw King goes for the close-up—the personal rather than the epic. Instead of pageantry, we get gore. Instead of history, we get a gritty costume piece. The lulls in action are brief, and few, quickly giving way to more violence and gore. The camera wants us to see Robert’s scarred and bloody face, and Edward’s puking crawl through the mud as he feebly tries to reunite with troops who have abandoned him.

Read the whole thing.

A Good One

An amusing comment by John Nolte on the Daily Wire:

USA Today’s Brian Truitt describes himself as a “shameless geek,” but oddly enough omits the fact that he is also just as shamelessly ignorant when it comes to the signaling of his own virtue. In his review of Dunkirk, director Christopher Nolan’s big-budget look (opening this weekend) at an actual historical event that took place in the early days of World War II, Truitt offers potential ticket-buyers the following trigger warning:

The trio of timelines can be jarring as you figure out how they all fit, and the fact that there are only a couple of women and no lead actors of color may rub some the wrong way.

Where in the world do these people come from?

Did Truitt do any homework about the background of this movie? He does appear to know that Nolan’s latest is based on a true story, which I guess is a start, but he probably learned that from the trailer. The real question, though, is just how clueless about history, about the biggest world event of the 20th century are you when you find it “jarring” that Wesley Snipes doesn’t show up to save the day or that Sandra Bullock is not driving a tank that will explode if it goes under 50 miles per hour?

Complaining about the lack of women and minority actors in a movie about Dunkirk is like complaining about the lack of Sinatra music in Straight Outta Compton or wondering why cancer failed to get equal time in Philadelphia or hectoring Hollywood over the omission of realistic sex scenes in the Toy Story trilogy.

And we cannot only blame Truitt, who is probably a victim of public schools. How did his trigger warning, one so feeble-minded it ranks as a non sequitur, make it past the USA Today editors? Are they all half-wits or does someone personally dislike Truitt so much they have stopped protecting him from himself?

Sorry if the following is inconvenient to your McCarthyistic desire to bully filmmakers into thinking and believing a certain way, but the settled science tells us the following: Trapped at Dunkirk were young, white males. Saving those young, white males were other white males. Trying to kill those young, white males were other white males.

UPDATE: From News Thump:

‘Not enough Americans’ in Dunkirk movie, says Hollywood

Hollywood’s top military historians are up in arms over the lack of Americans in the new film ‘Dunkirk’.

The film, which features some bunch of Limeys nobody has ever heard of, has been singled out for lacking realism and credibility by not showing Americans as the heroes.

American reviewers described feeling ‘robbed’ after the film failed to show any of their countrymen in a heroic, leading role, leading to accusations of ‘Britwashing’ the Second World War to make it look like anyone other than the USA was involved.

UPDATE: Apparently there were some colonial Indian troops at Dunkirk, although they numbered about 1800 men, about half a percent of the 338,000 troops who were evacuated.