Tells of the daring heist of The Stone of Destiny in the 1950s by a charming group of idealistic Scottish undergraduates, whose action rekindled Scottish nationalistic pride.
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At the Movies
Stone of Destiny (G) * * *
Slab of Hope!
By ROBERT WALDMAN
So itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s funny how history has a strange way of pulling you in. Actual events often make the best sort of movies. Learn all about a quirky Scottish rite of passage in Stone of Destiny, a nice piece of nation-building from Alliance Films now showing the way at the Fifth Avenue Cinema. Believe it or not Canadian filmmakers with the aid of Canadian taxpayers helped make this wondrous tale that reads much like the little outsider who could.
Actor turned director Charles Martin Smith (Air Bud) delves deep into Scottish lore to pull off this rousing tale of a bunch of rag tag nationalists out to prove a point. Back in 1950 Scotland was largely in need of a boost as a famed artifact went into British hands much earlier. With local politicians chomping at the bit most knew full well that any hopes of breaking free of English rule would be a tough road to hoe.
Lots of idealism and furor occurs at college campuses world wide. Unrest was frothing deep beneath the surface in Glasgow. Out to make a point and instill some pride back in his countrymen is one Ian Hamilton. Restless and young can make for interesting times as this Ã¢â‚¬Å“studentÃ¢â‚¬Â is tired of cow towing to the Brits and decides heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the one to do something about it. Plan number one is to bring back the Stone of Destiny. Unfortunately its current location presents a bit of a problem: itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s housed at Westminster Abbey under lock and key.
Never one to say no and resist a challenge Ian assembles a group of cohorts to make off with the relic. DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t despair that it weighs a ton for this is one determined soldier. Companions in crime turn out to be a little lady, an even more timid first-timer and a rogue of a brute supposed to act as muscle in case they meet up with the authorities. Meticulous planning may go for not as the actual robbery turns into a shambles, like a comedy of errors reminiscent of the Mack Sennett and Keystone Cops days.
Nice location work and good chemistry between the leads make this light hearted romp an enjoyable ride for 96 minutes. Perfect casting with Charlie Cox (Stardust) as the idealistic Ian Hamilton sets things off in the right direction. Main squeeze Kate Mara (We Are Marshall) nicely offers a diversion while both Billy Boyd (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring) and Ciaron Kelly make nice bookends to the assault team.
James Bond veteran Robert Carlyle (Renard from The World is Not Enough) provides potent gravitas as a mercurial politician whose sermons inspire the group to action. Shot on location in England and Scotland with minor edits made in Vancouver add up to give Stone of Destiny an authentic aura whose quirkiness will appeal to an older audience and armchair travelers/historians eager to learn something about a true historic event.
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