Tuesday, October 07, 2008


Russell Mulcahy | 1986 | 116 mins | USA

Sometimes, after a festival like TIFF, it can take weeks to get back into normal habits and movie watching patterns. It's easy to develop a severe case of film fatigue, and even easier to slip quietly into a post-fest depression that makes it difficult to drag oneself out of bed and to the couch, no matter how warm or inviting the VCR or DVD players look. For me, two weeks of silent weeping over the sudden, brutal lack of Clancy Brown in my daily life have finally given way to a sort of dull resignation that this is just what reality is like now. Sigh.

Sometimes, the only thing you can do is dust yourself off and watch some old favourites to get back in the game. And what better choice than the 1986 Clancy Brown classic, Highlander?

I haven't seen this film since I was about 10 or 12 years old, and I have to say that while it didn't terrify me nearly as much this time, it really held up amazingly well. Probably, nobody needs the plot of this stellar classic re-capped for them, but here it is anyway, for readers who were born in the '90s.

After being killed (but not killed!) by a mysterious, skull-helmet wearing opponent (Clancy Brown as The Kurgan) on the Scottish plains in 1536, Connor McLeod (Christopher Lambert) finds himself banished from his village (after all, who but the devil can come back from the dead?) and befriended by a dapper gent with a pearl earring named Ramirez (Sean Connery). Connor spends the next 400-ish years learning about his immortality and preparing for "The Gathering" at which all the remaining immortals (who haven't had their heads lopped off over the centuries) battle for "The Prize", because, as Clancy often reminds us, "there can be only one".

Between 007's bedazzled Spaniard and Clancy's immortal-punk psychopath, there's a lot of awesome star power supporting Lambert's beleaguered swordsman. When The Gathering turns out to be taking place in modern day NYC, pure awesomeness ensues.

Plus, I had nearly forgotten the great Queen soundtrack. I was probably too young to appreciate it in 1986.

Side Note: I realized while watching this film that every idea I've formed in adulthood about what my dream home might look like is straight out of Highlander's awesome, multi-story, floor-to-ceiling-windowed New York penthouse. Yep, even the circular weapons room with the sunken couches.

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