Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
USA/United Kingdom, 2010. Universal Pictures, Imagine Entertainment, Relativity Media, Scott Free Productions. Story by Brian Helgeland, Ethan Reiff, Cyrus Voris, Screenplay by Brian Helgeland. Cinematography by John Mathieson. Produced by Russell Crowe, Brian Grazer, Ridley Scott. Music by Marc Streitenfeld. Production Design by Arthur Max. Costume Design by Janty Yates. Film Editing by Pietro Scalia. Screen Actors Guild Awards 2010.
The legend that has been the fodder of adventure tales for centuries is given the historical treatment in this bloated epic by Ridley Scott. Russell Crowe is the English soldier who returns from the crusades broken and tired, finding his country in a state of heavy taxation and corrupt government when Prince John (Oscar Isaac) takes over the throne from his dead brother Richard (Danny Huston). Befriending Marion Loxley (Cate Blanchett), the widow of one of his fallen soldiers, Robin of Longstride gathers up his buddies to deal with the injustices of their village that leads to a campaign against the crown, one that will (erroneously) write his name in the history books forever. Scott has put much thought and planning into finally telling a historically-based account of the name behind the legend, but what he has come up with has all the entertaining zip of a Sunday School lesson. Sure, Errol Flynn’s felt cap was far too bright a green and Kevin Costner couldn’t be bothered to fake an English accent, but those guys knew how to have a good time. This film is dreary and dull, and doesn’t make up for its lack of entertaining action by featuring any riveting historical drama; in fact, most of the dialogue scenes that “accurately” depict the history of the time period just feel like dry versions of the filler scenes that padded the screenplays of better Robin Hood movies between bow-and-arrow fights or rescues of maidens. It’s a shame, particularly as Crowe and Blanchett are terrific together on screen and very well cast.