Outlaw King Review: Tonally Confused, but Overall Enjoyable to Watch

3 out of 5 best Chrises.

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Often historical movies can feel dry and lose us in the story, but with Outlaw King, it works in terms of telling a story to a modern audience, but the tone ends up being all over the place. An overall easy watch, it tells the tale of Robert the Bruce and his journey to get the crown of Scotland, the movie goes back and forth between a love story between Robert (Chris Pine) and Elizabeth (Florence Pugh) and the history of Scotland’s brief separation from England.

Pine plays Robert as an awkward man (especially in regards to his relationship with Elizabeth) who just wants to win his country back. A father, a nobleman, and a man who just spent eight years fighting in a pointless war, Robert is honored by England with a new wife, Elizabeth, who has the role of mother thrust upon her. Robert, whose first wife died in childbirth, seems to be a doting father, and his daughter instantly falls in love with Elizabeth, even though it takes Robert and Elizabeth a little while to realize their love for one another.

When they’re first married, he doesn’t consummate the marriage that night. When he leaves her room shortly after going inside, their house staff make a joke about how quick he was, setting a strange tone that carries throughout the movie. Are we supposed to laugh at these little things? Are they the light amongst the darkness of the battles that Robert and his men find themselves in?

It’s just a hard dynamic to understand, because we we’re geared towards understanding historical films as being serious pieces of our history, with maybe some light moments, but Outlaw King often relies on the awkwardness of Robert for laughs and then, in the next scene, we see a man hanged and gutted for trying to hide the queen.

That being said, it’s still a great film to watch, and with it being on Netflix, there really isn’t any commitment to it. You don’t run the risk of being mad you saw it, because you can watch it from the comfort of your own couch without forking over any extra cash. The love story between Elizabeth and Robert can seem contrived, but there’s an earnest quality to it because of Pine and Pugh’s performances, and it brings a heart to the movie that branches outside of the fight for Scotland.

Outlaw King will be released on Netflix on November 9th.

(image: Netflix)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.