ACTION; 2hr 20min
STARRING: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett
Russ ’n’ the hood: Crowe
Gladiator director Ridley Scott rocks Robin Hood with all arrows blazing. Tackling the evolution of the downtrodden-championing outlaw between 1199 and 1215, this very big picture packs the lusty punch of deep budgetary pockets and years of strategic experience.
Robin Longstride (a rock-solid Crowe) is an archer in the Crusades-weary army of Richard the Lionheart (Danny Huston), straggling back to England after Richard’s death. The country that Robin rediscovers after decades overseas is in a wrung-out financial state with no relief in sight under the amateurish rule of Richard’s greedy younger brother, John (Oscar Isaac). Robin’s meeting with the mettlesome Lady Marion Loxley (Blanchett) is no more promising. He agrees to pose as her late husband to save her Nottingham home from the clutches of the Crown, and while she’s not happy about that, we know from enduring myth that Marion and Robin are as much a fit as his Merry Men and his red-blooded quest for equity.
I loved the toe-to-toe teaming of Crowe and Blanchett and the intrigue that ripples through Brian Helgeland’s densely political screenplay. The biggest payoff, though, is the earthy physicality whose colossal climactic battle scenes are ringmaster Scott at his whip-flourishing finest.