Rob Roy [1995]

 

Directed by: Michael Caton-Jones
Written by: Alan Sharp
Starring: Liam Neeson, Jessica Lange, Tim Roth, John Hurt, Brian Cox, Eric Stoltz

This one had been sitting on my shelf since I bought it a couple of years ago and, on a whim, I finally decided to see it. Can’t say I’m too glad I picked it up, but I don’t regret it either. It is a decent movie, with moments of great dialogue and some very impressive sequences (like a horse chase intercut with a celebratory dance, as well as the final swordfight) but ultimately, there are two things that keep Rob Roy from being at the level of other, more important historical epics. One: the characters. Even when main baddie Archibald Cunningham (Tim Roth) is evil personified, it’s hard to care for the obnoxious, stubborn “good guys”. Two: at times, the film can be rather boring. It sort of gets going after the first hour but most of Rob Roy goes by at a glacial pace. It was a nice surprise finding out this movie was darker, more violent and even sexier than I expected, though. The cinematography and costumes are splendid, natch. Neeson and Lange sometimes overdo it a bit, but they’re expectedly solid. However, if this film is still being talked about after more than 15 years, it’s because of its great villains. Brian Cox, John Hurt and especially Roth (who got an Oscar nomination) are fantastic. You almost root for them.

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