Thursday, 6 August 2009

Stone of Destiny

Movie Review

One of the more eccentric true stories to appear on the big screen, this is a documentary about the courage of an oppressed people. That a division on this scale existed so recently within Britain is nothing less than astounding.

So the Scottish coronation stone was carried off to London hundreds of years ago. In the 1950's, university student Ian Hamilton is a passionate supporter of the Covenanters, a political lobby group campaigning for Scotland to have its own parliament. After yet another petition is ignored, Ian casts about for a symbolic act to force London to pay attention, and arrives at the plan to uplift the Stone from Westminster Abbey and bring it home to Scotland.

The film follows him through the search for accomplices and preparation for the heist, and of course an extended period of edge-of-your-seat action on Christmas Eve. Panicked sprints through London alleys, epic foul-ups and disheartening mishaps conspire against our motley but relentless crew of Scots.

Fighting for ownership of a lump of rock results in one of the year's most preposterous storylines. In this case, truth is definitely odder than fiction. There are many delightful scenes, such as the encounter with the night watchman, the conversation with the gypsy, and the poignant final standoff in an ancient ruin.

An incredible story indeed - loaded with symbolism, patriotism and determination against astounding odds. It's about the heart of the Scots, and that heart is big and wild and brave.

Rated M, for language considered mild in Britain if nowhere else. No violence. Kid-safe if you don't mind a bit of heartfelt 1950's swearing.
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