Movie Review: ‘Robin Hood’
Director: Otto Bathurst
Cast: Taron Egerton, Jamie Foxx, Ben Mendelsohn, Eve Hewson, Tim Minchin, Jamie Dorman, F. Murray Abraham
Plot: Robin of Loxley is torn away from his idyllic life with Marian to fight in the Crusades. When he returns he finds Nottingham under the rule of the corrupt and greedy Sheriff. Robin becomes a thief and rebel leader to overturn the status quo.
Review: Robin Hood is one of those characters who the film industry is trying to make work, but since the advent of colour cinema there’s only been two genuinely good versions:
So let’s see how this new guy shapes up. He’s got a lot to live up to.
It doesn’t take long to see which way the wind blows with this perplexing revisiting of the classic Robin Hood story. We begin with Marian and her breasts breaking into Robin’s manor to steal and horse and they fall in love. Robin gets drafted and goes to Arabia where is becomes abundantly clear that the director has no idea how to choreograph action sequences around archery and horses, so he just treats them like guns and cars. Robin and his team, wearing tactical armour vests dodge around corners holding bows like they’re rifles while the enemy fires on them with machine gun crossbows (literally). A friend suggested that it looks like a Call of Duty game and yes, it does.
This weird middling of historical accuracy does appear to a stylistic choice over ignorance, and they maintain the same style throughout the film. High speed wagon chases, armoured vehicle heists and explosive launching machine crossbows are the norm. Everything feels so goofy that we made the early decision to sit back and enjoy the camp. Because it is camp, and very silly.
Possibly because he’s living up to his reputation working on Black Mirror, Bathurst seems determined to inject some political allegory into the adventure. The Sheriff plays up the threat of immigrants and Middle Eastern attackers infiltrating their way of life in order to keep the workers downtrodden and his friends rich. As the plot plays out we learn that the Sheriff is in someway working with Arabian generals to maintain his power. It’s also possible that the Arabs hacked the election in some way. This allegory extends to Marian pointing out that the Sheriff has dodged military service himself and the townspeople getting about with hoodies and molotov cocktails.
Among the cast is the always charming Taron Egerton of Kingsman and Eddie the Eagle fame, and he’s a proven a solid young lead actor. I can’t imagine this is going to do much to build his credibility as a performer, but it’s good that we have a likeable lead. Jamie Foxx plays an Arabian Little John, which is a thing I don’t know how to feel about. Tim Minchin provides comic relief as Friar Tuck for some reason. Ben Mendelsohn is coming close to fully becoming a cartoon villain, and was considerate enough to save the production wardrobe budget by reusing his Star Wars outfits. Eve Hewson and Jamie Dornan are there.
The story is full of plot holes, the political commentary is too on the nose to be taken seriously and the tone is goofy, but we had real fun with this. It’s going to get a bollocking from critics but if you think about it has a cheap pizza with a poor distribution of cheese then you may also have fun.
Rating: SIX out of TEN