Movie Reviews

Film Review: “Robin Hood”

(Universal. 2 hours, 11 minutes. Rated PG-13 for violence including intense sequences of warfare, and some sexual content. Directed by Ridley Scott.) Russell Crowe (Robin Longstride), Cate Blanchett (Marion Loxley), Max von Sydow (Sir Walter Loxley), William Hurt (William Marshal), Mark Strong (Godfrey), Oscar Isaac (Prince John), Danny Huston (King Richard the Lionheart), Eileen Atkins (Eleanor of Aquitaine), Mark Addy (Friar Tuck), Matthew MacFadyen (Sheriff of Nottingham). Music by Marc Streitenfeld.

This is not Errol Flynn’s Robin Hood, Kevin Costner’s, or even Sean Connery’s. This grim, gray origin story is short on green tights, Merry Men, and Bryan Adams; long on suffering villagers, graphic fight scenes, and uneven pacing.

Robin Longstride is an expect archer in 13th-century England, serving in King Richard’s army in their years-long fight against the French. After Richard’s death, Robin travels to the oppressed village of Nottingham, where he gathers a band of marauders, and falls for the spirited widow Lady Marion. Later Robin and his gang become involved with the ineffectual King John and the threat of bloody civil war. Crowe’s Robin is not the charming rogue you’re used to; he’s more the scowling mutterer. Gladiator was no laughfest, but at least Crowe’s dynamism wasn’t tamped down as it seems to be here. Even his scenes with Blanchett lack snap. The rest of the cast is an impressive gathering of names, and they’re adequate, but no one stood out to me except Eileen Atkins’ Eleanor. Streitenfeld’s music is fine, but he’s no Korngold (well, who is). Robin Hood is a capably-made movie that tackles serious subjects, but it cries out for a little levity.

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