Adam thinks Robin Hood misses the bullseye
I’ll start this off with a disclaimer: before I saw this film (in 2010) I thought it was going to be the best film of the year. Hear me out: I think Ridley Scott is a brilliant director (Blade Runner, Alien) and I regard Russell Crowe as the best movie star actor working today (re-watch Cinderella Man if you disagree) throw in Cate Blanchett and a who’s who of older thespians (William Hurt, Max Von Syndow) and you have the ingredients for a classic film. Unfortunately there is something wrong with the recipe; this film never gels.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bad film, it’s just not a particularly memorable one. Like all of Scott’s films it is visually magnificent and each actor owns their role (especially newcomer Oscar Isaac as Prince John). It just misses the big emotional arcs present in Russell and Ridley’s previous collaboration, Gladiator. Russell shines the brightest when he plays moral crusaders (Gladiator, L.A. Confidential, and The Insider) but this film doesn’t create enough motivation for the audience to champion him, and to me, this is unforgivable when we are talking about a film called Robin Hood. This thing should have been rousing, it could have played like Crowe’s Braveheart . Despite the story’s lack of emotional involvement, I think that Crowe is really good here, he injects Robin with his natural charisma and doesn’t just repeat the winning formula he used for Maximus.
The film functions as a prequel to the tale that we are familiar with, and I think this is a massive misstep; I myself wanted to see the original tale retold by this team. Russell and Ridley have been trying to ape the model of the Scorese/De Niro partnership since Gladiator. Every time one of their films is announced I get excited and every time I see one I’m slightly disappointed (Body of Lies, American Gangster, A Good Year), I think that they are good films, I just want them to be great. Unfortunately, I think it’s time I lowered my expectations for this collaboration (but I hope they prove me wrong).