MOVIE REVIEW | Stone of Destiny (2008)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “It’s a kind of movie that sounds aggravating on paper, yet almost always delights me.”

 Stone 1
“On that day I heard the voice of Scotland speak as loudly as it did in 1320. As long as a hundred of us remain alive, we shall never give in to the domination of the English. We fight not for glory, not for wealth, nor honors, but only and alone for freedom, which no good man surrenders but with his life.”

My heritage on my dad’s side is Scottish.  I lived in Scotland for a while in my 20s.  And being Australian, I have a pretty healthy frustration with British “rule”, just like a lot of Scots.  So when I was flicking through the Netflix menu and saw that there was a movie about the Scots getting one over the Poms, I knew I had to watch Stone of Destiny.

It’s 1950, and the English have well and truly exerted control over their northern neighbours.  After a push by local community leader John MacCormick (Robert Carslile) for Scotland to form their own parliament is quashed by the English, local student Ian Hamilton (Charlie Cox) is determined to restore some Scottish pride.  He decides to do this by steeling the Stone of Destiny from London’s Westminster Abbey.

Hundreds of years ago, it was the stone on which Scottish royalty was crowned.  But after an English victory over the Scots in the 15th century, it was taken as a trophy of war.   Ian sees the stone as the ultimate symbol of his country’s greatness, beauty and hopeful independence.  With the support of MacCormick, Ian meets young nationalist Kay Matheson (Kate Mara), who leads him to hulking engineering student Gavin Veron (Stephen McCole) and his unassuming friend Alan Stuart (Ciaron Kelly).  Together, the four plan their Christmas Day heist over a few a pints.

The Stone of Destiny is very much a certain kind of British movie.  The kind of British movie that’s all about quaintness and charm, rolling hill country sides and little communities where the little people are the beating hearts of their little towns, and the establishment is all haughty obliviousness.  It’s a kind of movie that sounds aggravating on paper, yet almost always delights me.
Stone 2
The heist at the core of this movie can be seen as almost harmless now, 65 years after the fact.  But The Stone of Destiny does a great job of conveying the frustration, bubbling pride and patriotism of the Scots, waiting to be let loose by the theft.  It’s super predictable and every fist pumping moment can be seen a mile away, but that never makes them any less fist pumpingly great.  Especially when those moments include the soap dodgers being made to look like idiots.

I wonder if there’s some sort of Aussie artefact I could steal to inspire Australia to finally become a republic?

Stone of Destiny
Directed By – Charles Martin Smith
Written By – Charles Martin Smith

Other Opinions Are Available.  What did these people have to say about Stone of Destiny?
The Guardian
The Scotsman
It’s On it’s Gone

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