Chasing the Deer Review

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Document of the events which occurred during the run up to the battle of Culloden


Fresh from its considerable success in Scotland, this account of the events leading up to the Jacobite revolution and eventual Battle Of Culloden Moor in 1746 struggles gamely to be heartfelt but unfortunately fizzles out somewhere around the lukewarm department.
The majority of the action centres around the
Campbell family whose teenage son Euan (Lewis Rae) is inspired to join the insurrection and fight for his country after his anti-Jacobite pop vents his spleen once too often over those darned rebel types. There, he finds himself under the watchful gaze of Captain Elliott (Blessed), a man dogged by tragedy who becomes a father figure to the impressionable adolescent. And a good thing too, because when his real dad is unwillingly dragged on to the Jacobite side by the faintly psychotic Angus (played by Fish, ex-singer with Marillion), you know it’s all going end in tears.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what’s wrong here: the acting is fine, with Blessed, in a rare starring role, bringing a sensitive side to his sturdy Scots warrior and Fish failing to give rise to that old adage “Never work with children, animals or pop stars” by turning in one of the film’s most sterling performances; while the filmmakers background in educational documentaries offers a history buff’s attention to detail.
The main problem lies in the budget, its diminutive nature glaringly obvious in such crucial moments as the opening stampede and the final battle itself. Also letting the side down is a tendency to rely too heavily on Tourist Board footage of lush countryside and antlered animals in order to fill gaping holes in the plot. A disappointment, but one so gallant and enthusiastic it’s impossible to completely dislike.

Good effort, but not an entirely satisfying film.