Robin Hood Movie Review

Ridley Scott and his usual Oscar-winning crewmates turn the familiar old English legend into a robust, thumping epic. The pacing is a bit uneven, but it keeps us thoroughly engaged.

Robin Longstride (Crowe) fought alongside King Richard (Danny Huston) in the crusades but returned to England under shady circumstances with two of his archer buddies (Grimes and Doyle) and a beefy fighter (Durand). Heading to Nottingham to honour an oath, he meets Sir Walter (von Sydow) and his feisty daughter-in-law Marian (Blanchett), who are being squeezed out of their land by the Sheriff (Macfadyen). But there are bigger problems, as Godfrey (Strong) marauds through the country with an army of French goons, plotting to steal the country from the vain new King John (Isaac).

Every element is expertly crafted, from the gritty production design to the soaring cinematography. Whooshing arrows, brutal attacks and angry peasants are everywhere, and the digital recreation of 1199 London is impressive (even if the actors' wobbly accents aren't). Meanwhile, writer Helgeland weaves in issues from the 21st century, including financial difficulties, corrupt politicians and unjust tax burdens. And the battles play out on a massive scale, leading to a Spielbergian assault on a beach that has long since vanished from beneath the cliffs of Dover.

In between the action there's rather a lot of drama, from bickering in the Tower between the bratty new king and his patient mother Eleanor of Aquitaine (Atkins) to the tetchy countryside romance between Robin and Marian.

Fortunately, these scenes are extremely well-played, with Blanchett delivering an especially strong turn as a woman far, far ahead of her time.

Meanwhile, Scott indulges in his usual refusal to allow for any shades of grey: people are either virtuous or vile, with little reason why. At least King John keeps us guessing; and after two other supervillain roles in six months (see Sherlock Holmes and Kick-Ass), Strong has perfected his portrayal of pure evil and should really move on now. Sadly, there isn't nearly enough of Robin's merry men, who are lively and funny and presumably will have a lot more to do in the sequel. Yes, this tale finishes right where most Robin Hood movies start.


Robin Hood Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: 12, 2010


More Russell Crowe

'The Water Diviner': Russell Crowe Invites Us On An Inside Look Into His Powerful Gallipoli Drama

Russell Crowe has invited his fans to join him for a first look at his new movie, The Water Diviner. In a new featurette, Crowe's...

The Water Diviner Trailer

Russell Crowe talks in depth about his brand new war drama 'The Water Diviner' in a featurette which also features interviews with other cast members...

'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' Shields Off The Competition To Top Box Office

Captain America: The Winter Soldier fought off some pretty serious opposition to maintain its position at the top of the box office, while three newcomers...

'Noah' And Five Other Movies That Sparked Religious Controversy

Darren Aronofsky’s Noah might have faced some religious controversy during its initial opening, but its ridden that wave right to the top of the US...


'Captain America: The Winter Solider' Breaks April Box Office Record With $96.2 Million Weekend

Marvel Studios' latest instalment, 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier', is proving to be hugely popular, not just among comic book fans, but all cinemagoers as...

Yoga, Painting, Boyfriends And Theatre: Emma Watson Looks To The Future Now Hermione’s Not Holding Her Back

Emma Watson has been doing a lot of pondering on the next stage of her life. The Noah actress is now on the brink of...

'Noah': An Epic Of Biblical Proportions Taking America By Storm

Filmmaker Darren Aronofsky has experimented with most genres over the course of his career, from brainy freak-out ('Pi') to gritty self-discovery ('The Wrestler') by way...

A Week In News: 'Noah' Conjures A Box Office Miracle, Glastonbury Line-Up Revealed, And 'How I Met Your Mother' Bids Farewell

Nice Work, 'Noah': Darren Aronofsky's latest epic, Noah, was released last weekend and managed to triumph at its debut box office with $44 million, despite...