Oscar winner Russell Crowe stars as the legendary figure known by generations as “Robin Hood,” whose exploits have endured in popular mythology and ignited the imagination of those who share his spirit of adventure and righteousness. In 13th century England, Robin and his band of marauders confront corruption in a local village and lead an uprising against the crown that will forever alter the balance of world power. And whether thief or hero, one man from humble beginnings will become an eternal symbol of freedom for his people.
Robin Hood chronicles the life of an expert archer, previously interested only in self-preservation, from his service in King Richard’s army against the French. Upon Richard’s death, Robin travels to Nottingham, a town suffering from the corruption of a despotic sheriff and crippling taxation, where he falls for the spirited widow Lady Marion (Oscar winner Cate Blanchett), a woman skeptical of the identity and motivations of this crusader from the forest. Hoping to earn the hand of Maid Marion and salvage the village, Robin assembles a gang whose lethal mercenary skills are matched only by its appetite for life. Together, they begin preying on the indulgent upper class to correct injustices under the sheriff.
With their country weakened from decades of war, embattled from the ineffective rule of the new king and vulnerable to insurgencies from within and threats from afar, Robin and his men heed a call to ever greater adventure. This unlikeliest of heroes and his allies set off to protect their country from slipping into bloody civil war and return glory to England once more.
Russell Crowe plays Robin as a grim, quiet but doggedly determined character. He occasionally allows himself a light moment and smiles. When it is decided he must sleep in the same room as Lady Marion, in order to pull off a ruse that he is her husband so she doesn’t lose her land due to her newly deceased husband, even though they plan to sleep in separate beds, he says, “Ask me nicely.” Later, when they have fallen in love and he is embarking on a journey to fight a great battle, she tells him to come back to her. “Ask me nicely” he repeats, much to the audience’s delight.
There is a lot of violence on screen immediately in the front end of the picture, and at least some of it seemed gratuitous to me, simply placed there for action. On the other hand, when the story picks up later, with the ruthless French king and army threatening violence and to take away England’s freedom, the film takes off and the fighting seems more well placed. It is there for a purpose.
I would have liked to have seen more character development, such as was the case when Errol Flynn played Robin Hood so long ago. The audience really got to know the characters. Here, although there are enjoyable moments for sure, we only get to know a few of the main characters, like Robin and Marion, and this doesn’t happen until some forty five minutes into the picture. At any rate, there is strong and at times bloody violence, an example being an arrow striking a villain in the neck and the bloody results are graphically seen. Also, surprisingly, there is strong language. I don’t think Hollywood gets the language right very often in these period pieces. At any rate, we are unable to award our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal to this picture. This one was obviously made with an older audience in mind. It is not one for the kids. Russell Crowe does a nice job and brings his own unique version of Robin Hood to life. He’s intense. The film finishes with the words, “And so the legend begins.” Regrettably, it is not one the entire family can enjoy together.