|The arrows fly thick and fast as a legend is reborn in Ridley Scott’s rousing reboot Robin Hood.
There has been many a film based on the Robin Hood legend, from Errol Flynn’s tights to Kevin Costner’s mullet, and all have their charms, to be sure. But in Ridley Scott’s take on the iconic character, what is presented is a story of grit, origin and destiny: Just how did this man of the crusades become Robin of the Hood?
Scott builds the foundations of his film upon a historical backdrop of economic and political turmoil during turn of the 12th century England, and carefully threads in these mythical figures with expert ease, his passion for British history and its legends felt in every one of the films 140 minutes.
That there is as much depth in its story (scripted by Brian Helgeland) as there is extravagance in its imagery, proves the point that Scott should no longer be seen simply as a filmmaker with a great eye for visuals.
Not only does Robin Hood belong in the top tier of the acclaimed director’s filmography, but it also sits comfortably amongst the pedigree of successful reboots (Batman Begins, Casino Royale).
Scott opens the film with England reeling from the economic and political effects of the Crusades, with King Richard the Lionheart (Danny Huston) sending his country broke in order to bankroll his war.
Amongst his many loyal soldiers is Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe), an archer who has grown cynical of the Kings rule. When Richard dies in battle, Robin leaves for Nottingham to fulfil a promise given to a slain soldier, whose last wish was that his sword be returned to his father (Max Von Sydow) and wife (Cate Blanchett).
Robin returns to find a country now led by the tyrannical King John (Oscar Isaac) and infested with corruption in all facets of the system, from the bishops down to the sheriffs. As the country spirals into civil war, Robin becomes a man of the people and leads a charge for equality.
From top to bottom a talented cast delivers. Max Von Sydow repeats his knack for stealing scenes from popular co-stars; Kevin Durand is a monster as Little John; and Mark Strong adds another glorious addition to his ever increasing gallery of villains.
Yet it is the formidable pairing of Crowe and Blanchett that gives this Robin Hood that extra something.
Both actors fill out their iconic roles admirably, with Crowe bringing the desired qualities of nobility, strength, and honour which makes his Robin a joy to watch and cheer. Blanchett is with him every step of the way, and perhaps even more, delivering the best lines with impeccable style, brawn, and light comedic touches.
During a time where people lay stock in the ambiguity towards the roles of good and evil, Robin Hood is a pleasure to watch. It would be hard pressed for viewers not to cheer as good men (and women) fight for just cause against an oppressive system.
Audience rousing cinema of this size and class does not come along often. A titillating conclusion leaves open the possibility of a sequel, and if Robin Hood is anything to go by, then more than merrier.