The Scottish Highlands, 1713. Clan-leader Rob Roy MacGregor (Neeson) asks the Marquis of Montrose (Hurt) for a loan. The aloof Machiavellian hesitantly agrees; but Rob hasn't bargained for the laird's house-guest, the foppish wastrel Cunningham (Roth), who together with Montrose's scheming factor (Cox) steals the money, killing Rob's friend Alan (Stoltz) in the process. The scene is set for deadly enmity between Rob and Montrose. As scripted by Alan Sharp and directed by Caton-Jones, this stirring historical drama is less swashbuckler than transposed Western, with a feel for landscape, intrigue, romance and questions of honour reminiscent of Mann's Last of the Mohicans. Neeson makes a less dashing action hero than did Day-Lewis, but he brings enough gravitas to his role to endow his love for his wife Mary (Lange) and his conflict with Cunningham with real emotional punch. Still better are Lange, Hurt, Cox and, notably, Roth, whose final duel with Neeson is a tour de force. While the film's chief virtue is the mythic clarity, Sharp's script, which shifts easily between the fruity innuendo of the aristos and the more demotic colloquialisms of the clansmen, never soft-pedals the historical and political context.
Cast and crew