We can’t repay our good luck with bad grace, it invites darkness.
Why did I watch it?
It has scenes filmed in Pembrokeshire – Freshwater West. Plus I wanted to hear Russell Crowe’s famous Irish accent.
Did it meet expectations?
Well, although it doesn’t have Alan Rickman threatening to scoop your brains out with a spoon, this is not the po-faced affair I was expecting. It does take itself a lot more seriously, but it seems to be a lot more concerned with government and international relations that I expected from a story that is traditionally associated with hiding in the woods and wearing green tights.
Cate Blanchett as Lady Marion is an absolutely inspired piece of casting; she is superb, and there’s an excellent chemistry between her and Russell Crowe’s Robin Longstride.
Life in the woods and castles of England and France is impressively realised, and the plight of the town of Loxley is conveyed to great effect so that raids and small victories feel suitable triumphant, giving weight to the simple concerns of food and shelter as a context to the battles being fought on the international stage. Things do start to get excessively silly towards the end of the film, though. It’s not even Robin’s dad writing the Magna Carta (that’s still good silly). It’s rather the daftness final battle. Never mind.
Mark Strong continues to be in every film I’ve watched recently. Matthew Macfadyen (Spooks) is a relatively low key Sheriff of Nottingham. One of Robin’s merry men (Alan Doyle) is rather musical to good effect.
Freshwater West appears in three roles: firstly in long shot as the North Coast of France; secondly in a close up of the dunes as Hampton Bay; and thirdly as Dungeness, with some digitally imposed cliffs. That’s presumably on the basis that huge brown cliffs are the one thing that will make the extremely sandy Fresh West look more like the flat and exceedingly pebbly Dungeness… (I’m irresistibly reminded at this point of the sequence in the ’91 film where they ride from Dover to Nottingham in one night. Via Hadrian’s wall…)
You should watch it if…
- You want to see a more muscular Robin Hood
- You have an inkling how awesome Cate Blanchett as Marion might be
You shouldn’t watch it if…
- You want capers in the woods rather than a revision of English history
Up next: The Dark Knight Rises (2012)