May 19, 2010

Robin Hood (Ridley Scott, 2010)


WHAT IT IS: At the end of the 12th century, following the death of King Richard, monarch of England, Robin Longstride and his comrades desert the King’s army to become outlaws in England. But, their heroic fates would be sealed by a tyrannical King, a looming French invasion and the internal strife of their kingdom.

HOW IT IS: As a more painstakingly accurate retelling of its legend, Robin Hood had every opportunity to shine. From its magnificent vistas and intricate production design to its powerhouse actors, there are many reasons to like this film. The performances of Max Von Sydow, Cate Blanchett, William Hurt and Danny Huston as King Richard Lionheart are significant strong points.

But the movie falls short of expectations. First in its narrative which quickly suffers from acute blockbusteritis as its ending approaches. As strong as screenwriter Brian Helgeland is at crime stories, he meanders in historical settings, as previously witnessed in A Knight’s Tale. The story grapples awkwardly with humour, making us wish it had avoided it altogether. Some plot points are utterly ridiculous, owing more to the happy-end imperative than to any kind of logic.

Albeit beautifully shot, Ridley Scott’s direction is obvious and tacky, channelling past successes like Gladiator and Black Hawk Down. Crowe is no better, barely making any effort to distinguish his Robin character from Gladiator’s Maximus.

Although off to an interesting start, Robin Hood, in the end, chooses the easy way out, sacrificing relevance for popular appeal, cheating its audience out of what could have been.

IF YOU LIKED: Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Lancelot.

INFO: Robin Hood