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An excellent historical film and the best-ever portrayal of a major turning-point in Scotland's history.
Chasing the Deer is a very fine film - for those acquainted with the historical background of the Scottish civil war in 1745-46, the last attempt to restore the old Stewart royal line in place of the new Hanoverian dynasty, whom the Jacobites regarded as usurpers. Every nuance of the film is historically correct - unlike Braveheart, which is a first-class film but a historical disaster. I can understand the incomprehension of viewers - probably most viewers - who know nothing of Scottish history in the mid-18th century and are therefore unable to appreciate Chasing the Deer's first-rate qualities. The characters of the two main protagonists, Prince Charles Edward and the Duke of Cumberland (both 25 and second cousins) are very accurately portrayed. The film brings out the wide divisions in Scottish (and especially Highland) society between those loyal to the old royal line and those who have already come to terms with the new. Charles Edward won his battles against the government forces at Prestonpans and Falkirk, but the final one at Culloden (the last land battle fought on Scottish soil) ended in disaster for the Jacobite cause and marked a watershed in the history of modern Scotland. Nothing was ever the same again. This film sweeps away all the romantic glamour that has surrounded the name of Charles Edward Stewart. It demolishes the legend that Culloden was a Scottish-English conflict; members of one and the same family could be found fighting on both sides at the battle at Culloden. Of the major historical films about Scotland, Rob Roy probably comes closest to historical accuracy, albeit with Hollywood icing. One could quibble about details of film technique in Chasing the Deer, but for me it remains the best-ever portrayal of a major watershed in Scottish history and the personal motivations of those caught up in the conflict.
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