What makes the final scenes of Braveheart so powerful?.
Film scripts are written in reverse so that everything we see at the end is led up to in the film itself. Braveheart, directed by its star, Mel Gibson, is a splendid example of this process.
The lat two scenes of the film show the public torture and execution of William Wallace and the re-emergence of Scottish power as Robert the Bruce finally takes on his cause and leads the Scots to victory at the battle of Bannockburn. The film is based on historical fact but the truth has been distorted to make a more effective film.
The execution sequence opens with a pair of dwarves entertaining the crowd with a mock execution. Gibson included this scene, because it's the kind of thing that would of took place all those years ago. The effect that the mock execution has on the crowd stands out in the film. It gets the crowd going and many people would say it was a good day out for the whole family. .
Wallace is then shown being hauled through the crowd, attached to a cart. When he was brought into the square Wallace was bound, arms and head to a cross. This structure reminded me of Jesus.
In the scene immediately before the execution, Wallace was shown in his cell, praying to God in medium close up, "I"m so afraid. Give me the strength to die well." The effect that it had on the audience seeing him bound to a cross, erected on a cart symbolises how Wallace's story was like Jesus" s. This effect was underlined by having the crowd shout insults and throw rotten fruit at him. This was a sign of hatred, but it makes the audience watching the film feel for him.
Once Wallace mounts the stage that the English have erected for his torture and execution his fate is made clear to the audience by the medium close ups of the torture instruments.
The instruments are revealed very slowly one by one. The instruments of torture prepare the audience for what's to come.