Netflix’s latest original film “Outlaw King” drops Friday. Unfortunately, it’s not great despite its massive potential.
From critically-acclaimed “Hell or High Water” director David Mackenzie, “Outlaw King” has an incredible cast including Chris Pine, Florence Pugh, Aaron Taylor Johnson, James Cosmo, Stephen Dillane, and a very cute dog. The movie tells the true story of Robert the Bruce (Pine), a Scottish king in the 14th century who launched a guerrilla war against the British.
But even for people like me who thrive on royal historical dramas, it’s really boring, especially considering all of the talent involved in every aspect of the project.
Why you should watch: The full-frontal scene people have been talking about for months.
Ever since “Outlaw King” premiered at Toronto Film Festival in November, people have been talking about Chris Pine’s full-frontal scene. And while the scene is not as graphic as some may have hoped, it’s quite refreshing to see Pine go fully nude in a steamy but short scene. It’s also notable to see such a huge star do male nudity, which has historically been limited to women.
Pine, who’s many people’s favourite of Hollywood’s Chrises, has been a good sport about the whole thing, even playing along with it. This week, Pine said that even though you cannot see his penis completely in “Outlaw King,” he promises that his “can match” Michael Fassbender’s. Fassbender famously went fully nude for a famous scenes in 2011’s “Shame.”
What’s hot: Chris Pine and Florence Pugh are standouts.
Chris Pine is a gifted actor. Because of his more prominent roles in studio films like “Star Trek” and “Wonder Woman,” and perhaps because of his stunning eyebrows, those skills often get overlooked.
But “Outlaw King” gives him a chance to prove himself as a performer. Pine can do drama, and he fits surprisingly well into the film’s 14th century setting. Sadly, not even Pine’s relentless charm and a brief, kind of dark and way over-hyped full-frontal scene can save the movie.
Besides Pine’s presence, the film’s only other saving grace is Florence Pugh, who plays Robert’s wife, Elizabeth de Burgh. Pugh is quickly becoming one of the best young actresses today. Like Pine, she does her best with the clunky, contrived dialogue and her thinly-layered character. After seeing Pugh in this, I am way more excited for her role as Amy March in Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women,” coming in 2019.
The film also stars Stephen Dillane, who most will remember not fondly as Stannis Baratheon from “Game of Thrones,” as well as James Cosmo who played Night’s Watch Lord Commander Jeor Mormont. They certainly fit into the period, but don’t have much to do in the movie.
What’s not: everything else
Unlike director David Mackenzie’s last collaboration with Pine, the ne0-western “Hell or High Water,” “Outlaw King” lacks originality and perspective. It doesn’t add anything new to the historical drama at all, and it doesn’t have anything to say. Truly, the only unique thing about the entire thing is the fact that no one has seen Chris Pine in a full frontal scene before.
Instead of embracing genre cliches and giving them a unique twist, this movie slogs along without really trying, from dialogue to costume and make-up. While it is shot beautifully and at gorgeous locations, everyone in the movie looks like they’re just playing dress up. Though I must add that Pine makes a Kelly green tunic work.
The bottom line: It’s not terrible, just aggressively average.
The movie is a bloody, muddy mess but it isn’t terrible: just a huge disappointment considering the talent in front of and behind the camera. It’s completely skippable (AKA: just skip to the best nude Pine scene, which happens around the 45 minute mark), but one of those useful movies that doesn’t require your full attention. And even if you try to give it your full attention you’ll get distracted, because it’s a snooze fest.
Watch the trailer below:
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