***Note this review is based on the Toronto International Film Festival premiere of Outlaw King. It has since been reedited for its Netflix premiere, where it runs almost 20 minutes shorter.
At a glance, it would be easy to mistake Outlaw King as the anti-Braveheart. Both are about the First War of Scottish Independence, both feature Robert the Bruce as a major character, and both have William Wallace make an appearance—albeit to wildly different effect. Whereas Mel Gibson imagined the kilt-wearing rebel as a “warrior poet,” David Mackenzie’s Outlaw King depicts him as a desperate, wide-eyed nut literally falling out of trees. As the film surmises about this medieval form of mania, “Wallace is more of an idea than man.”
And yet, it is