Robin Hood—Movie

Robin Hood, written by Brian Helgeland and directed by Ridley Scott, provides yet another perspective on the “taketh from the rich, giveth to the poor” hero. Neither the suave Errol Flynn, swashbuckler Douglas Fairbanks or Kevin Costner Americanized version, and most especially not the Mel Brooks musical comedy hero, 2010 Robin Hood is perhaps the thinking man’s (or woman’s) champion. As personified by Russell Crowe, this Robin Hood can drink and fight with the best of them…is an archer extraordinaire…has a sly wit…is gentle…and loyal. I have to admit I was smitten by the man and the movie. 

Scott’s Robin Hood gives us the man before he became “Robin of the Hood,” beginning as Robin Longstride, an archer in the Third Crusade under Richard the Lionheart (Danny Huston). Following Richard’s death in battle, Robin and three of his fellow soldiers, Allan A’Dayle, Will Scarlett, and Little John (Alan Doyle, Scott Grimes and Kevin Durand respectively), are returning home, having spent ten years fighting abroad. Along the way this “merry band of men” happens across an ambush of the King’s guard by Sir Godfrey (Mark Strong), an English knight with what seems to be dual French and English citizenship and allegiance. Robin assumes the identity of Robert Loxley, an English lord murdered in the ambush and in possession of  Richard’s crown. Robin/Robert takes the crown and returns it to the king’s brother, Prince John (Oscar Isaac )and then proceeds to Nottingham so he can inform Robert’s father, Sir Walter Loxley (Max Von Sydow), and Robert’s wife, Lady Marion (Cate Blanchett), of Robert’s death. Walter asks him to continue the false identity and in so doing, Robin becomes engulfed in the troubles between the new king and his subjects as well as the battles between England and France.

In addition to Crowe, the film boasts an eclectic cast with some terrific acting. Von Sydow and Blanchett are very convincing as the elder Loxley and the mature, but spunky Marion. Mark Strong gives another powerful villainous performance and William Hurt, as William Marshall, counselor to the king, and Eileen Watkins as the king’s mother, make strong impressions in their roles. And television viewers may be amused and surprised by some key performances by Kevin Durand and Scott Grimes.

Scott may take liberties with the battle scenes, but they are fun to watch as are all of the archery scenes. The shots of the English countryside are breathtaking and make one long for a visit.

This was a Robin Hood with which I was not familiar, but truly enjoyed getting to know.

 3 nuggets out of 4

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