Clans of Scotland- A Journey into the Highlights and Low Points of Scottish History

| February 8, 2010

Paul Murton takes the audience on an interesting trek, delving into the histories of 12 Clans of Scotland. He is very enthusiastic and knowledgeable as he learns from a slew of people and even participates a bit in sword fighting and kayaking. His journey is rife with impressive and deteriorating castles, magnificent landscapes, impressive artwork, unusual monuments and memorials, and beautiful songs. The movie, itself, is approximately 6 hours, comprised of 12 episodes for the BBC Scotland, and accompanied by original musical compositions.
Each episode is dedicated to a particular clan’s history- its events and some specific people- and its successes, trials, and sometimes devastation. The ordeals people went through are fascinating, enhanced by the several interviews Murton conducts. He encounters a motley selection of people, from professors and historians to clan chiefs and musicians. Each interviewee’s pride for their clan is palpable as they help to delineate their clan’s history, myth, and legend. Clan honor is in contest with clan betrayal, which is that much graver as the audience can comprehend the depth of one’s pride for his clan, as achieved by the movie’s excellent conveyance. Feuds, battles, and bloody history are described in depth. Positive things like agricultural reform to seemingly negative things like abduction are included as well. There is even a bit of reenactment that is portrayed to give the audience a taste of what clan life entailed centuries ago.
Overall, the movie is an interesting exploration of the facts and lore behind some of Scotland’s most notable clans. Murton and his interviewees are not short of the dramatic but the movie can get a bit dull, which can be helped by watching each episode separately. Also, occasionally, the imagery and the narration are non sequitur, but that is forgivable. The visuals are not graphic but the gruesome details of battles, torture, and executions may not be fun for the squeamish. There is something awesome to behold the beautiful, peaceful countrysides and to realize the courageous battles that covered that ground, or to visit a castle and know the terrible executions that occurred there. Yet, these are described and not shown, and so for the movie watcher who enjoys high action and effects, this is not the movie for him. But for the documentary lover and history buff, Clans of Scotland should be heartily satisfying.

About the Author:

Alicia Ayoub has been published by Filmmonthly.com and "Verve" Magazine of Hendersonville, Nc. Her passion for the entertainment industry does not end with the pen. After working as a theatrical stage manager for over a decade, she is trying her hand at film making; having worked for Dreamworks, PBS, and Stormcatcher Films. Currently, Alicia is revising a screenplay in between movie gigs.
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