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> Stone of Destiny
Director: Charles Martin
Cast: Charlie Cox, Kate Mara, Billy Boyd, Robert Carlyle, Ciaron Kelly, Stephen McCole, Peter Mullen.
3 stars (out of 5)
Reviewed By Mark Orton
In a slight twist on the heist genre, Stone of Destiny is not inspired by any elaborate jewel robbery.
Rather, the stone in question is a hunk of unremarkable sandstone and the audacious criminals are four bumbling students.
Based on the story of Scottish nationalist Ian Hamilton (Charlie Cox) and his resolve to liberate the Stone of Scone from Westminster Abbey, Stone of Destiny takes a dash of Braveheart and the essence of 1950s UK, and even finds time to include a little romance.
Among a cast chosen from Scottish journeymen and television up-and-comers, it's Robert Carlyle as a prominent nationalist who impresses most.
As with Peter Mullen's token participation, there is not nearly enough gritty realism to be particularly memorable.
But, if you can believe the events depicted are genuine, Stone of Destiny succeeds in building enough tension to keep one tuned in.
Sure as anything, the UK press will seize upon unionism, Scottish patriotism and rudimentary English stereotypes to pillory Stone of Destiny.
But that aside, as a simple plot device, the film succeeds for the most part.
The characters are likeable enough and, importantly, they manage to convey the sense of ineptitude befitting such an audacious, half-baked plan.
While it definitely plays better as a made-for-television epic, Stone of Destiny is head and shoulders above the majority of trifle doing the rounds.
Best thing: Using a 1940s Austin as a getaway vehicle.
Worst thing: Kate Mara's accent, as lovely to look at as she is. Were there no comparable Glaswegian actresses available?
See it with: The lyrics of Flower of Scotland ringing in your ears.