Cast: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett
Direction: Ridley Scott
Rating: 3 1/2
The legend of the medieval bandit-hero has inspired scores of Hollywood movies ranging from the early Technicolour swashbuckler The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) to a Walt Disney cartoon (1973) and the 1991 blockbuster featuring Kevin Costner in the title role.
Marking the fifth collaboration between director Scott and his favourite star Russell Crowe (Gladiator, A Good Year, American Gangster, Body of Lies), the $175 million historical epic offers a whole new how-he-became-an-outlaw origin story.
In this re-telling, Robin is a deserter from the Crusades. Arriving in Nottingham to return a sword to a fallen nobleman’s blind father (Max von Sydow, impressive), he stays on to protect the family’s widowed daughter-in-law (Blanchett). Accompanied by a band of disillusioned barons, Robin also leads the onslaught against an English traitor (Mark Strong) working for the invading French forces.
Scott brings his customary visual flair to the battle sequences. For most of the way, the plot is engrossingly narrated and the characters are etched with credibility. The tensions of the turbulent era are convincingly conveyed.