Falkirk cinema screens Bruce movie after Cineworld u-turn

Angus Macfadyen as Robert the Bruce.
Angus Macfadyen as Robert the Bruce.

A new film about Scottish medieval monarch Robert the Bruce is being shown in Falkirk after all, after a petition campaign and complaints from SNP politicians.

The movie, starring Angus Macfadyen as King Robert I of Scotland, was originally blanked by multiplex kingpin Cineworld - reportedly “for commercial reasons” - provoking protests and a rash of newspaper stories.

Macfadyen, who also played Robert the Bruce in Mel Gibson’s 1995 “Braveheart”, personally campaigned to have the movie screened in Scotland.

He has thanked everyone who joined the effort to persuade Cineworld to u-turn, saying it reminded him of the Bannockburn campaign.

The story was reported across the UK, with the Daily Telegraph headlining it as “Cinema chain bows to pressure from Scottish nationalists to show new Robert the Bruce film”.

Cineworld said it was “pleased to have been able to make room in the schedule for Robert the Bruce”, which is now playing in Falkirk, Dundee, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The film is a much smaller production than Netflix blockbuster Outlaw King - a digital streaming production which does not rely on cinema screening - and depicts the period when Bruce was a hunted fugitive, pursued not only by King Edward’s men but also many Scottish enemies.

Launched at the Edinburgh Film Festival it has played to mixed reviews, with the Guardian describing it a “a thoughtful, well-meaning crack at historical drama”, while others considered it dull and small scale.

The Scotsman reported how arts quango Scotland (which gave a million pounds towards Outlaw King’s budget) would not support the venture because, shot mainly in Montana, it was not Scottish enough.

The movie’s Australian director, Richie Gray, told the newspaper: “Because of the time constraints we had to get the film made and with the connections we had in the United States it seemed to make sense from the start to film it in Montana rather than start afresh in Scotland.

“We did exterior filming every day. There isn’t a single studio shot in the movie”

“I’d have loved to have shot the whole film in Scotland but it would have been too scary. We had existing relationships with investors, cast and crew.”

Robert the Bruce is on show at Cineworld Falkirk from now until Thursday next week.