Robin Hood (2010)

Released: 2010
Director: Ridley Scott

Starring: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett

Ridley and Russell achieve the impossible – they make Robin Hood boring

I think that there’s a deep love for Robin Hood and everything related to Sherwood Forest naturally ingrained in the DNA of us Brits.  Even the most fiscally conservative of us cheer when the evil rich are robbed for the benefit of the poor and Robin defeats the scheming Sheriff of Nottingham.  There have been numerous versions of the story from Errol Flynn’s campy hero to Kevin Costner’s strangely American Robin, via father and son portrayals by Sean and Jason Connery and the classic Weetabix advert (come on – sing along “should they retreat back to Sherwood? Course they should, course they should, course they should”).

The latest incarnation is Russell Crowe in this, his fifth collaboration with director Ridley Scott, 2010 version of Robin Hood.

Richard the Lionheart is killed on his return from the Crusades and peasant archer Robin Longstride (Crowe) finds himself charged with returning the crown to Prince John and the King’s mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine.  After their brief stop in London, Robin and his companions head to Nottingham to inform Sir Walter Loxley that his son Richard has also been killed.  While here Robin becomes involved in the struggle of villagers to keep their grain from the clutches of the church.  The action then switches, in a somewhat convoluted manner, to international intrigue.  After persuading King John that he really needs a bill of rights for the people of England (who knew Robin Hood was the instigator of Magna Carta?) Robin and Marion then lead battle against the French.  Robin is declared an outlaw and the legend begins.  Apparently.  Convenient that – makes sequels easier!

One of the common threads in the great Robin Hood movies is the sense of fun that runs through them.  And that’s why this is by no means a great Robin Hood.  It’s actually hard to imagine a more po-faced and humourless film.  There are moments which raise a smile – especially one wonderful scene with the indomitable Eileen Atkins as Eleanor scolding her son John while he is in flagrante with his French bit of totty.  Mark Addy almost manages to break through the misery as Friar Tuck but he has too little to do.  Any hopes of humour are dashed as soon as Crowe appears on screen, he is nothing more than a great hulking brute who takes himself far too seriously and wrecks every scene in which he appears.  The Merry Men are bland and anonymous, William Hurt is wasted in a minor role and Matthew McFadyen, normally so brilliant as dark, moody, dangerous and brooding characters, is reduced to a simpering fool as the Sheriff of Nottingham.

There are a couple of bright moments.  As you would expect, Cate Blanchett is good as Marion, Mark Strong is suitably evil as the scheming Sir Godfrey, and there isn’t enough that I can say about how brilliant Eileen Atikins is.  None of this is enough to save this truly disappointing film.

If you fancy a good night in with the Merry Men there’s many more enjoyable versions.  Next time I’ll avoid Crowe’s Robin Hood altogether and look out the foxy star of Disney’s version, it’s a much better film.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.


  1. Hi Louise,

    Nice house you have here, looks very posh indeed!!

    I actually enjoyed this film…is that wrong? I don’t know why, maybe as you say it is ingrained in our DNA being brits to love all that is Robin Hood. I know it is not the best representation of the legend, but it was pretty mindless fun!!

    For some reason I now have got the them tune to the disney film going through my head now!!

    Great job matey


  2. I wouldn’t call it wrong – that would be rude to a guest. Maybe it’s a boy thing – my husband quite liked it too. Maybe I just miss Michael Praed (oops showing my age).

    Thanks for popping by.

  3. Hello Louise! I’m w/ Custard, I’m a girl and I enjoyed it too, but then again I usually consider a brute, brooding Crowe as entertainment :) I guess I went in expecting a more um, serious Robin Hood, definitely not Men in Tights though there’s a time for that obviously and I think Crowe’s a much more believable Robin than Kevin Costner ever will (though that one is a guilty pleasure of mine as well). Glad we agree on Blanchett though, she is always brilliant in everything she’s in.

    • I suppose there is something darkly attractive about Crowe when he’s in grumpy mood :-) I do seem to be in a minority on this one, and can’t just blame the boys. Oh well….

  4. Good review Louise. I was actually a little surprised how much I enjoyed this film. I think the fact it doesn’t tell the romanticised tale detracts from what is a really well-made war movie. I heard there was a sequel being talked about.

    • Thanks, I do seem to be in a minority on this one. If I can bear it I may watch it again to see if I change my mind on it.

Speak Your Mind