Rob Roy Reviews
Roger Ebert, writing for the Chicago Sun-Times, opined, "This is a splendid, rousing historical adventure, an example of what can happen when the best direction, acting, writing and technical credits are brought to bear on what might look like shopworn material." Ebert said the film's outline could have led to "yet another tired" historical epic, but he found that the director was able to produce "intense character studies". The critic applauded Tim Roth's performance, calling it "crucial" to the film's success. Ebert was also impressed by the climactic sword fighting scene and called it "one of the great action sequences in movie history". In The New York Times, Janet Maslin gave a mixed review of the film. She complained of the film's "long, dry stretches" and that the "plot [was] too ponderous and uninteresting for the film's visual sweep". Maslin said one of the film's saving graces was the "robust" presence of Liam Neeson, taller than those who played his enemies, and his character's charismatic exchange with Jessica Lange's character, writing, "Rob Roy is best watched for local color and for its hearty, hot-blooded stars." Maslin acknowledged that Neeson was "a far cry from the dour-looking Scottish drover who was the real Rob Roy" and said that the film failed to convey the figure's importance to audiences. The critic highlighted the scene of Cunningham raping Mary as one of the film's "strongest scenes" which was appropriately responded to by the "cowboy justice" of Neeson's lonesome and avenging Rob Roy.[
Michael Caton-Jones's Scottish costume drama and period piece is based on Sir Walter Scottīs novel with the same name and the focus is on honor, dishonor, family values, love and hatred. I think "Rob Roy" is a fine piece of drama adventure and historic film. The lavish and atmospheric environments in the Scottish Highlands, the superb acting from Liam Neeson, John Hurt, Tim Roth, Brian Cox, Eric Stoltz and Jessica Lange, the intriguing storyline based on real events and characters, the solid direction from Michael Caton-Jones and the fine cinematography makes "Rob Roy" a pure joy to watch. Liam Neeson breathes life into Robert Roy MacGregor with heroism and passion while Tim Roth is oh so good as the liar, rapist, thief and murderer Archibald Cunningham. He truly brings his A-game for this evil role. Thereīs two scenes that really stands out for me. The rape scene of Mary that is truly strong and emotional and the fantastic final sword duel between Rob and Archibald. You become drawn into the picture and the story and you canīt help but long to see the Scottish Highlands by your own eyes.
One thing about this movie that I wasn't so excited about is it mirrors another Scottish highland period film titled "Braveheart" (1995) that came out the same year. I know I'm supposed to focus on the movie in this review, but I can't help but compare "Rob Roy" to "Braveheart". You have a farmer whose wife gets assaulted, his enemies burn his village, and he seeks vengeance and leads a revolt against the English. They're the same movie, except "Braveheart's" better. As a movie in whole, "Rob Roy" falls a little short in it's plot and doesn't have good pacing at some points. I wasn't sure what was happening in the film half of the time. It just didn't appeal to me. Nevertheless, this is a good film that deserves a look at. Don't expect to see blue face paint when you hear the Scottish accents.
Rob Roy was an educated Clan Chief who spoke French and Latin, but that would be a dull tale so we have this Rob Roy in a "Haggis Western".
Neeson's accent is a real as any other part of this made for a fast buck romp in the heather. Its a tartan shortbread box of one dimensional characters cashing in on a romanticised history - its McDisney with cheese and kilts.
This movie features one of the more lengthy rape scenes in modern cinema, however that moment serves an importance for the further motives, and churns out a great character arch for Jessica Lange. The vengeful climax of broadsword vs. rapier is the main attraction here. Sure Liam's taken back his daughter, swordfought against Darth Maul and Bruce Wayne, but I feel that this is Neeson's most triumphant battle. Watch and see for yourself, it's well worth your time to check out this romantic, underrated gem.
As much a tale about family and a way of life as it is about greed, and the ever powerful hand of the upper class and its ability somehow to squash those beneath them.
Just when the little guy seems to be making good on his life and the lives of those around him, someone seems opportunity and being truly cuthroat, ruins the life of not one or two, but of many many people.
Just goest to show you... trust no one.