“We fight not for glory, not for wealth, or for honours, but only for freedom…”
To hear the review
To hear the review
Blah blah blah. Sorry, Charlie Cox, but you are not Mel Gibson in Braveheart. Leave the fighting-the-British-for-Scottish-freedom speechifying to the Australians. The idea in Stone of Destiny is that Ian (Cox), Kay (Kate Mara), Gavin (Stephen McCole) and Alan (Ciaron Kelly) are going to steal the Stone Of Destiny (appropriately) from its current resting place in Westminster Abbey. The Stone Of Destiny is a symbol of Scottish freedom, and has been appropriated by the British. How stealing it will help the Scottish nationalists defend Scottish tradition, I’m not sure. How it will help them achieve freedom is never explained.
The thing is, this is based on a true story. Four college kids in 1950 really did break into Westminster Abbey and steal the stone. However, it seems to me that the theft of the stone was more of a symbolic statement, and a thumb in the eye of the British rulers of Scotland, than it was any sort of concerted attempt to start a rebellion or to achieve any kind of actual freedom. So making long speeches about the non-existent and not-really-even-considered Scottish “freedom”, such as it is, makes little sense. You are not fighting for freedom. Got it? You’re merely trying to be an irritant, and it’s working. Take what you can get.
The story itself could be neat, if it wasn’t so cookie-cuttered into movie form. This film is based on a book by Ian Hamilton, one of the real-life students who actually stole the stone in 1950. Either his book is painfully written and cookie-cuttered into the form in which he thinks all books are written, or the people who made this movie took some liberties with the story in order to make it look like every other movie ever made. There is the idealist kid who has the idea to steal the stone. The totally hot chick he recruits to be the getaway driver. The strong, tough, beer swilling college jock who of course has to have his “I’m more than this” moment later in the film. And the dweeby, quiet shy kid who is scared of everything but gets to come along because he has a car. Wait. Is this the cast of Road Trip? Might as well be.
So you have the cast of Road Trip in a movie that isn’t funny. You have a biopic about a real guy telling a true story, only it has been changed so it looks like Road Trip, only not funny. You have speeches about Scottish nationalism and freedom and all that business, but it isn’t Braveheart. Normally, I think it’s good when I have trouble categorizing a movie into the “action” or “comedy” or “drama” genres. It means I’m watching something so different that it’s at least a great effort, even if it isn’t a great movie. In this case, I can’t categorize it because it simply isn’t anything. It’s so the same as everything else that it defies categorization. And if anything, it smacks terribly of lack of effort.
There are a few bright spots. Kate Mara is terrific as Kay, and Robert Carlyle is sympathetic as the politician in Scotland who is helping the kids. Kate Mara is hot, and Billy Boyd is solid as Ian’s brother who helps off and on. And Kate Mara is…OK. Really, Kate Mara is the only reason to watch this movie. Not because she’s hot, or because she is a wonderful young actress, although both those things are true. No, she’s the best reason to watch because the rest of the movie is pretty bad.