Outlaw King is a 2018 historical action drama film about Robert the Bruce, the 14th-century Scottish king who launched a guerilla war against the larger English army. It is co-written, produced and directed by David Mackenzie.It stars Chris Pine, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Florence Pugh, Billy Howle, Tony Curran, Callan Mulvey and Stephen Dillane.
It had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 6, 2018, and was released on November 9, 2018, by Netflix.
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In the year 1304 AD, outside of the besieged Stirling Castle, John Comyn, Robert Bruce and Scottish nobility surrender to Edward I of England. The King promises to return seized lands to the nobility in exchange for their homage. During the celebration in the camp, Bruce spars with the cocky Prince of Wales and the King weds Bruce to his goddaughter, Elizabeth de Burgh. The King and the Prince leave Scotland and soon Elizabeth arrives to marry Bruce, however, Bruce refuses to consummate the marriage during the wedding night. Bruce witnesses English men conscripting his servants to the English army and the death of his father, the Lord of Annandale.
Two years later, after collecting taxes, Bruce notes how unpopular the English are (rioting after mutilation of the body of William Wallace) and starts planning a revolt against the English. He talks about the issue with his family who agree with him, even the English Elizabeth. Bruce tries to persuade the Lord of Badenoch to join him, however, Comyn doesn’t just refuse, but threatens to inform Edward about the plan; infuriated, Bruce murders the Lord. The incident compels the clergy of Scotland to offer a pardon to Bruce, with the condition of accepting the crown of Scotland. Bruce accepts the deal, but soon Edward hears about the act, forcing him to declare Bruce an outlaw and sending his son to crush the uprising. Bruce calls a council of the nobles, yet most refuse to break their oaths to Edward. Despite the lack of expected support, Bruce head to Scone, where he is to be crowned; while traveling there James Douglas pledges his allegiance to him. In Scone, Bruce is crowned the king of the Scots, meanwhile the Prince celebrates the beginning of his campaign.
Now crowned, Bruce marches against the English authority in Scotland, while the Prince is yet to arrive. He challenges the Earl of Pembroke to a single combat, de Valence accepts, but insist on delaying it by a day, due it being a Sunday. During the night, Bruce finally consummates his marriage, but the deceitful English launch a surprise attack. Bruce sends his wife and daughter to safety with his brother and stays to fight a losing battle, during which most of the Scottish is army is massacred. Bruce is able to escape only with fifty men to his name, ending the first act.
The merry band take Angus’ advice and flee to Islay, while traveling there John of Argyll parleys with them. The Lord of Argyll is bitter about the murder of Comyn, but allow the King and his men to depart. Later, when making preparations for the flight, Clan MacDougall suddenly return and attack Bruce’s entourage, impelling Bruce to leave ten men behind.
The Prince finally arrives in Scotland, only to hear that the outlaw has escaped the hand of the law. Edward searches for Bruce at Kildrummy Castle, only to find his wife, daughter, and brother there. The sadistic prince refuses to believe that Nigel isn’t aware of his brother’s whereabouts and hangs him. The Prince continues to take Bruce’s daughter and wife back to England.
The Bruce’s company meets up with Lord Mackinnon, who refuses to lend him any men, the band their voyage to Islay regardless, where they hear about the fall of Kildrummy Castle. Bruce concludes to sneak into the castle and take it back via stealth. The successful operation inspires Bruce to begin a guerilla warfare. Meanwhile, in England, Marjorie is separated from her stepmother by the clergy. After Edward hears that the Blackdouglas has been able to take back Douglas Castle only with five men, he goes after Bruce himself. Meanwhile, Elizabeth is offered a pardon for renouncement of the queenship of Scotland, but she refuses and is publicly humiliated. Beginning the third act.
In the following year, King Edward dies shortly after arriving in Scotland. The new king, Edward II neglects his father’s dying wishes and orders his burial in Scotland. Hear about the death of the king, Bruce decides to fight the new king in a pitched battle in Loudoun Hill, despite being outnumbered one to six. Clan Mackinnon arrives to aid Bruce. Edward II’s army is composed entirely of a horseman, thus during the battle the cavalry charges into a spear wall hidden by a ditch and defeated. As the English army retreats Edward challenges Bruce to a dual but loses and is allowed to escape.
The epilogue reveals that Elizabeth was released as a part of a hostage exchange and three hundred years later their descendant unified England and Scotland.
Chris Pine as Robert the Bruce
Aaron Taylor-Johnson as James Douglas, Lord of Dougla
Florence Pugh as Elizabeth de Burgh
Billy Howle as Edward, Prince of Wales
Tony Curran as Angus Macdonal
Lorne MacFadyen as Neil Bruce
Alastair Mackenzie as Lord Atholl
James Cosmo as Robert de Brus, 6th Lord of Annandale
Paul Blair as Bishop Lamberton
Stephen Dillane as Edward I of England
Steven Cree as Christopher Seton
Sam Spruell as Aymer de Valence, 2nd Earl of Pembroke
Rebecca Robin as Margaret of France
Stewart Brown as the Ginger.
Jamie Maclachlan as Roger De Mowbray
Principal photography began on August 28, 2017 on location in both Scotland and England. Filming took place in various locations including Linlithgow Palace & Loch, and St Michael’s Parish Church,Borthwick Castle, Doune Castle, Craigmillar Castle, Dunfermline Abbey,Glasgow Cathedral, Muiravonside Country Park, Mugdock Country Park, Aviemore, Isle of Skye (Talisker Bay, Coral Beaches and Loch Dunvegan), Glen Coe, Loch Lomond,Gargunnock, University of Glasgow,Blackness Castle,Seacliff Beach and Berwick-upon-Tweed and Tweedmouth (the latter two both in Northumberland, England – Berwick-upon-Tweed’s bridge doubling for London Bridge). Principal production concluded in November 2017.
It had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 6, 2018. Premiering at TIFF with a runtime of 137 minutes, the film’s length and pacing were criticized in early reviews, and Mackenzie subsequently cut nearly 20 minutes from the film as a result. Cut material include a battle scene, a big confrontation backdropped by a waterfall, an eight-minute chase sequence, and a scene in which Pine’s character meets William Wallace in the woods.The film had its European premiere at the London Film Festival in October 2018. The film is scheduled to be released on November 9, 2018.