24 March 2013

Rob Roy

Rob Roy (1995)
  • Director: Michael Caton-Jones
  • Based on Book: no. We thought it was based on Sir Walter Scott’s novel of the same name but it isn’t.  At all.
  • Cast: Liam Neeson, Jessica Lange, Tim Roth, John Hurt, Eric Stoltz
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor/actress in:
    • Liam Neeson – Seraphim Falls, Batman Begins, Kingdom of Heaven, Love Actually, The Gangs of New York, Les Miserables, Nell, Schindler’s List
    • Jessica Lange – Broken Flowers, Big Fish, Titus, A Thousand Acres, Sweet Dreams, Frances, Tootsie, The Postman Always Rings Twice
    • Tim Roth: Dark Water, The Beautiful Country, To Kill a King, Planet of the Apes, Gridlock’d, Pulp Fiction, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
    • John Hurt – Merlin, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Harry Potter, Melancholia, Brighton Rock, V for Vendetta, Manderlay, Dogville, Dead Man, Elephant Man, Alien, I Claudius
    • Eric Stoltz: Pulp Fiction, Little Women, Fast Times at Ridgemont High
  • Why bought: After our trip to Scotland we started reading books by Sir Walter Scott (and other Scottish writers). We thought the movie was based on the novel and chose it with our read-book-watch-movie friend, YW.
  • Seen: Once, with YW, on December 15, 2012.

Movies about men’s honor make me very uneasy.  Yes, we should be true to ourselves and live in dignity and all that but at what cost to others? In this legend Rob Roy was up against bad guys and in this movie John Hurt and especially Tim Roth (one of the best actors around) are excellently evil and fun to watch but Liam Neeson and Jessica Lange are just…too much. Yeah, he’s macho, yeah she’s a submissive but feisty and sexy wife, yeah they love each other a whole lot but come on – “You are so fine to me, wife”? “You are so fine to me, husband”?  One’s gag reflection is not far away.
And really – lipstick on a Scottish peasant woman singing a Gaelic song? A white billowing nightgown, cleverly revealing the form of a sexy torso on a Scottish peasant woman?
OK, so now I’ve trashed the film.  Is it that bad? No. It’s all right. Tim Roth lifts it many notches as does John Hurt. The scenery is, well, Scotland.  It’s beautiful. The historical aspect is interesting.  It’s watchable.
But those who expect a film of Sir Walter Scott’s book will be sadly disappointed. The stories have absolutely nothing to do with each other. The only incident they both used – and which is probably a vital part of the legend, true or not – is the escape from the bridge into the rapids.  If you must choose, read the book. It’s far more interesting and in spite of having been written in the 1800’s it has a far more enlightened view on gender than this altogether Hollywood movie. Sorry, Hollywood, you’ve made some good movies. And Rob Roy was made with the support of the Scottish Film Society (or whatever it’s called) and EU.  It should have been a lot better.
Still, it’s about ten times better than the dreadful Braveheart – on my list, the worst movie ever made – and so it gets 3 ½ * - oh OK – 4 (because Tim Roth alone gets 10) out of ten.

4* out of 10.


  1. No one can accuse you of not being iconoclastic, Ruby. :-)

    "Braveheart" the worst movie ever made? I sure am looking forward to this review. It's been a great favourite of mine for ages (though not, due to age limitations, since the first time I saw it in the cinema).

    I don't agree about "Rob Roy" either. Except for the Tim Roth part. The fellow's amazing actor all right. Difficult to believe it's the same man who starred in this strange, strange movie "The Legend of 1900". Such marvellous versatility.

    But I think Liam and Jessica did a very good job with a far from bad script here. Maybe I liked it because I have never read Scott's novel, so I had no expectations. I am no great fan of honour myself - just another six/five-letter word - but I find Rob's integrity rather inspiring.

    1. Thanks for the stimulating comment. I think I'm the only one in the world who didn't like Braveheart! But there it is. Sorry for the stepped on toes, well not terrible sorry, I'm quite sure your toes can take it :-) Don't hold your breath about a review og Braveheart on this blog though. I don't own the DVD and don't plan on buying it. What I remember is Mel in a blue face with a gorgeous wife and lots of boring battles...Most people seem to agree with you about Rob Roy too. That's what makes writing reviews so much fun. I'm looking forward to continued discussions!