Release Date: 13 May 2010
Running Time: 141 minutes
Check cinema guide for times and locations
Finally the long awaited Robin Hood directed by Ridley Scott hits our screens. Though its not the all too familiar premise of Robin Hood and his merry men robbing from the rich and giving to the poor rather a prologue of his journey to becoming a social crusader. Maybe they should have titled it “Robin Hood Begins” to prevent the ensuing confusion and no doubt the debate will rage from some sectors that too much poetic licence has been taken. Set in 12th century Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe) has been fighting in the third crusade on French soil and unwittingly becomes involved in foiling a treacherous plot, by aide to the English throne Godfrey (Mark Strong), to steal King Richard’s crown after his assassination. Sir Robert Loxely of Nottingham is killed during this surprise attack and his dying request to Robin is to return his sword to his father Sir Walter (Max Von Sydow). In doing so Robin assumes Sir Roberts identity and becomes acquainted with Lady Marian (Cate Blanchett) and his mysterious past, including his late fathers (Mark Lewis Jones) legacy.
The crowning of the new King John (Oscar Isaac), sees England on the brink of civil war playing into the hands of the invading French. William Marshall 1st Earl of Pembroke (William Hurt) along with Robin Hood tries convincing King John to unite the people against the French force by promising to enact changes ensuring equitable fairness and social justice.
This film sees the re-teaming of Ridley Scott and Crowe of Gladiator fame which naturally invites comparisons between the two period epics, however at the detriment of Robin Hood. The storyline by screenwriter Brian Hegland is solid and provides light and shade moving from battles scenes to lighter comedic moments and romance with ease and good pacing. However the depth of characterizations, particulary Robin, is lacking so Crowe isn’t really stretched at all and if this is the beginning of the Robin Hood story then he is just looking a tad overhill considering that he currently exceeds the average life expectancy during that period! Blanchett simply shines with the small part she has and the chemistry between them is one of the film’s saving graces. The story jumps from one thread to the next however titles are used with good effect so we can keep track of location and follow the plot though it may require some concentration which becomes difficult as it felt just a bit too long at 141 minutes with dare I say it, one too many fight scenes, even if they were well directed. Fine supporting performances from a great cast including Max Von Sydow, William Hurt, Oscar Isaac, Mark Strong, Mark Addy (Friar Tusk) and Kevin Durand (Little John).
Overall it will still enjoyable, take an open mind and don’t think of Gladiator!