Braveheart is not the most historically accurate of films but there are a few moments within it that provide some great story telling that make sense beyond the story. Most people pick the speeches but there are some other key moments for me, primarily centred around the battle at Falkirk, in the last hour of the film.
The strategy was set, the first part went to plan – then at the moment for the Scottish clans to engage, they rode away. Wallace looked downbeat but not beaten – despite treachery there were many more still fighting the cause. Wallace then follows the English king as he rides away to be stopped by a masked knight – the knight was his ‘friend’, ally and supposed supporter – the fight left Wallace distraught and he collapsed. Betrayed again. His allies were not trustworthy – in modern terms they talked the walk but did not walk it. A man cannot fight alone – success needs team – Wallace realised that his team was not all that he had been promised.
However, in the midst of it all – a single Irishman. He did not fit the mould, he was feisty, eccentric and quirky – but loyal, faithful and a man who went went beyond the call of duty. Earlier in the film, he saved Wallace life on a hunting trip, here he had ridden after him and carried him from the battlefield. A man who understood what was needed, what was required and answered it to the full.
Story at its best – Wallace had the strategy but the culture around him was not as supportive as it should have been. Culture always wins over strategy and in this story it demonstrated that brilliant strategy was not enough.