Running time: 140 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12A
UK Release date: 12th May 2010
Watched at the cinema Saturday 15th May 2010.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I have been a fan of the work of Ridley Scott for quite a few years now and so I was quite excited to see his latest offering. The story of Robin Hood has been told many times over the years, both as comedies and as more serious films. This rendition is a bit different, in that we are told the story of Robin and his men before they became outlaws.
Robin’s story begins in France. Having followed King Richard to the Holy Land for the crusades, master longbow man Robin Longstride and the rest of the King’s army are heading home. On their way they are pillaging as many French castles as they can. During one of these sieges the king is killed by a crossbow bolt through the neck. His crown is entrusted to Sir Robert Loxley to return to England. A traitor, Godfrey, ambushes him but the attackers do not get away because Robin and his men, Little John, Will Scarlet and Alan A’Dayle, ambush the ambushers. Godfrey gets away but is scarred by an arrow shot by Robin. Sir Robert, mortally wounded, makes Robin promise to return not only the crown to London, but also his sword to his father in Nottingham. Having delivered the crown and seen Richard’s brother, John, crowned king, Robin and his men head for Nottingham. There he meets Sir Robert’s wife, Marion, and his father, Sir Walter. In order that Marion can hold onto their lands after his death, Sir Walter proposes that Robin stays on and pretends to be Sir Robert. He agrees, partly, I suspect, because he’s attracted to Marion. Here we are also introduced to Friar Tuck, who helps Robin take grain intended for the rich bishop in York and plant it in the local fields instead. Meanwhile, Godfrey has gained the new King’s confidence, ousted the royal chancellor, William Marshal and set off, with a group French soldiers to ‘collect taxes’ in the North. Now, I think I’ve told you enough of the plot, there’s a lot more, but I don’t want to spoil the ending.
I really enjoyed this film, beautifully shot and brilliantly imagined, as we’ve come to expect from Ridley Scott. There were even some funny moments that were very welcome, we so seldom see little jokes like that in most modern dramas. It did fall a little flat in the middle, but soon picked up when the action got towards the end. Decent performances from all of the major players, Russell Crowe as Robin Longstride, Cate Blanchett as Marion Loxley, Max von Sydow as Sir Walter Loxley, William Hurt as William Marshal, Mark Strong as Godfrey and Oscar Isaac as Prince John. I should also give honourable mentions to; Danny Huston as King Richard The Lionheart, Eileen Atkins as Eleanor of Aquitaine, Mark Addy as Friar Tuck, Kevin Durand as Little John, Scott Grimes as Will Scarlet and Alan Doyle as Allan A’Dayle. Sorry it’s such a long list.
There has been a lot of talk about accents, particularly that used by Russell Crowe for Robin. To be honest, it didn’t really bother me; I didn’t find it particularly distracting. Over all I found it quite an enthralling film to watch with plenty of action, although it does fall a bit flat in the middle. Beautifully shot and well directed by Ridley Scott, forgiving the rogue accent problem. I was somewhat taken aback by the events just before the end, but I won’t say too much about that (spoilers). Over all, recommended.
My score: 7.8/10
IMDb Site: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0955308/