Some historical events get remakes over and over again, and while some of them show new insights into the story, the basic beats stay the same. Edge of the World however tells a story that a movie hasn’t told before. It tells the story of Sir James Brooke, a former British soldier in the 1840s who became an adventurer and eventually the White Rajah of Sarawak in Borneo.
Sir James Brooke (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) found his life to be uninspiring. He’d been injured as a soldier in the British army and decided to buy a boat to explore the world. Eventually he came upon Borneo, a land, as he heard, was full of headhunting and slave trading savages and pirates. He found something more however. After helping the locals he befriended quash a brewing rebellion, those locals crowned him the first White Rajah of Sarawak. He accepted this crown even though the British Empire wanted to claim the land for their own. On top of that, some of the locals don’t want him to rule,. And they were willing to do whatever they need to do to remove him from power.
Like most historical dramas based on a true story, you need to take some of what is in Edge of the World with a grain of salt. After all Sir James Brooks ruled for twenty-seven years. And the movie only has an hour and forty-four minutes to tell as much of his story as possible. On top of that, a lot of what the films shows makes things look more exciting than they were. That includes a romance that isn’t based on any historical fact.
Still, the film managed to hit the highlights of his life, including his role in fighting headhunting and squashing piracy in the region. Beside the story, another highlight of the film is the amazing cinematography. It makes you want to visit Borneo and enjoy the lush landscapes for yourself. From the TV series Vikings and The Tudors to the film The 12th Man, Jonathan Rhys Meyers has found his niche in historical dramas. He’s believable in the role and looks completed comfortable in it.
While Edge of the World isn’t the best historical drama out there, it does a great job of making you want to find out more about Sir James Brooke after the final credit scrawls across the screen. You may be shocked by the liberties the film takes. But over all it’s an enjoyable experience that teaches you something you probably didn’t know. It will also teach you about a part of the world you may not have ever thought of visiting.