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starring Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan, Catherine McCormack
written by Randall Wallace
directed by Mel Gibson
by Walter Chaw Mel Gibson's Braveheart is a Scottish Dances with Wolves as imagined by a Christian fundamentalist wackadoo who happens to be one of the real movie stars of the last 50 years. He commands the screen as a less-pot-addled Harrison Ford, in complete command of his masculinity and a certain wry, self-deprecating sense of humour. The throughline for Gibson, though, is his obsession with ideological, metaphorical, and literal martyrdom. His public fall and current late-career renaissance play into a very particular neo-Christian storyline and worldview. It's the engine that drives his defining roles: ex-cop (Mad) Max, who loses his wife and becomes a taciturn saviour for the desperate of the Outback wasteland; suicidal cop Martin Riggs, who loses his wife and becomes the saviour of his older Black partner; ex-episcopal priest Graham Hess, who loses his wife and becomes the saviour of the world; and of course William Wallace, who loses his wife and becomes the saviour of Scotland. A woman's death turns Gibson into a superhero--his melancholic, Byronic righteousness the only gamma radiation or excuse he needs to go all Revelations on some asses.