Writers: Brenden Helgeland (screenplay, story)
Cinematographer: John Mathieson
Starring: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Max Von Sydow, William Hurt
Studio: Universal Pictures
Sherwood Forest ain’t what it used to be
So much fanfare over someone I thought of as a cartoon fox for a long time. Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood presumes upon the tale of the hero’s fall from King John’s grace, before Walt Disney jumped in that is. Russell Crowe delivers a camera-ready and predictable performance as England’s foremost rebel against the brutal tax policies of the French. Cate Blanchett as the self-reliant Lady Marian is graceful and wise as usual, yet lacks the room to shine amidst a needlessly complicated plot. Robin Hood’s pathos for the lowly is always inches away from being his downfall, but Crowe displays little of the vulnerability that anthropomorphized that fox in the first place. Where Gladiator had the grandeur of Rome to set the adrenaline of ancient history a-pump, Robin Hood has a vanquished underdog whose cleverness and big heart are diluted into long battle scenes that flicker with the chaos of a car chase sequence. Scott adds enough gore and swordfight for a solid Hollywood epic, but for a story we already know so well, Robin Hood’s narrative needs more personal reflection beyond trading lives for glory.