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Written by Brian Helgeland
Directed by Ridley Scott
Starring Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Mark Strong, Max Von Sydow and William Hurt

Godfrey (on Nottingham): I’ll make this place famous.

I’ve seen a number of Robin Hood movies.  Who hasn’t?  I haven’t seen them all and I’m sure some people out there have, but even those people haven’t seen Robin Hood in Ridley Scott’s bluish hue before.  Originally titled, “Nottingham” (which I actually prefer), ROBIN HOOD tells us the tale of how this famous outlaw actually came to be that outlaw.  It’s Robin Hood, the prequel, which would explain why it often feels like you’re watching a film franchise being set up instead of the historical account Scott seems so determined to present.
With a reasonable amount of historical inaccuracies (aside from Robin Hood not having actually existed, that is), writer, Brian Helgeland (who has floored me once with the Oscar-winning, L.A. CONFIDENTIAL but who has mostly made me want to vomit with scripts like GREEN ZONE and MYSTIC RIVER) takes us back, way back, to when Robin Hood was still Robin Longstride.  Longstride used to fight alongside King Richard the Lionheart against Norman invaders at the turn of the 12th century.  That is, he did until the king was killed and he saw the opportunity to abandon the army for a life of freedom.  He took with him a few other men, all with appropriately varied degrees of merriness, and they set off to disappear.  They ended up becoming more visible than they ever desired when they came across a dying group of knights whose duty it was to return the fallen king’s crown to his queen.  This is where Longstride adopted the name most would know him as officially, Robert Loxley.
As transparent as Helgeland’s intentions to enlighten us about invented Robin Hood’s past are, Scott’s skillful direction is focused and fiercely barrels through the near two and half hour runtime.  He wants to plant Robin Hood’s roots firmly in the ground and proceed from there, taking an iconic figure and making him more human.  Albeit an odd choice to cast a 46-year-old actor to play a younger Robin Hood, Russell Crowe plays him with both restraint and confidence.  His Hood is one that fends for himself whenever possible but that respects the hardships of the greater population.  In that regard, he is often painted as somewhat saintly but that is in line with what we know of him anyway.  And with that classic Crowe ruggedness, this Hood is essentially a sexy bleeding heart.  It’s no wonder then that Marion Loxley (Cate Blanchett) falls for him when they meet. 
Scott’s ROBIN HOOD is a lesson in history with a somewhat misplaced agenda to turn one of the most famous heroes of the people into Hollywood hero for the masses.  The talent caliber spread amongst the director and the actors easily boosts the film to a level of strength and stature fitting to the size of the subject.  The constant attempts to champion the origins of the lore undermine the pedigree little by little.  What we’re left with is a legend that feels more manufactured than legendary.

One Comment

  1. I have been meaning to watch Robin Hood one of these days, the images really good and the quality of the cinematography seems excellent. Come to think of it, I also do want to see Iron Man 2. Pay Per Click Services

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