Synopsis by Mark Deming
Peter Watkins directed this mock-documentary examination of the Battle of Culloden in 1746, the final act in the attempted Jacobite Rebellion and among the first major steps in Great Britain's near-genocide of the original Highland clans of Scotland. Filmed as if a modern-day television news crew was on hand to cover the battle, and using a team of nonprofessional actors, Culloden includes on-the-spot interviews with the participants, reveals the meager circumstances of the Scot soldiers and the questionable competence of Charles Edward Stuart (aka Bonnie Prince Charlie), and reenacts the fearsome brutality of the British troops, who, after defeating the Scots, massacred what was left of their armies. A startling film, which, along with painting a vivid portrait of the horrors of war, explores the economic and class issues behind the conflict, Culloden also draws subtle parallels between the Jacobite Rebellion and Europe's role in the then-ongoing Vietnam conflict. Culloden was Watkins' first project for the BBC; his next would be the highly controversial The War Game.
battle [war], Britain, brutality, king, prince