Tuesday, September 26, 2023


May 13, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood opened the Cannes Film Festival Wednesday night, and there were arrows flying everywhere — most of them let loose by critics. They are disappointed that there is no dashing, romantic hero here, no swashbuckler in tights, no band of merry men stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. What we have instead, writes Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times “is a high-tech and well made violent action picture using the name of Robin Hood for no better reason than that it’s an established brand not protected by copyright. I cannot discover any sincere interest on the part of Scott, [star Russell] Crowe or the writer Brian Helgeland in any previous version of Robin Hood.” Indeed, writes Claudia Puig in USA Today, “The latest Robin Hood might as well be called John Doe in Chain Mail for all the resemblance it bears to the legendary character. That might not be so bad if the alternative portrait was intriguing. But Robin Hood … is an unnecessary and wrong-headed reboot.” Virtually all of the critics agree that the film has an impressive look, especially the violent battle scenes, but, they also agree, the complicated plot leaves the audience yearning for what Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times describes as the “traditional Robin Hood satisfactions” and having to put up with a plot that, he says, is “simultaneously simplistic and over-plotted, revisionist and predictable.” Todd McCarthy, the former Variety critic now writing for the website IndieWire.com, acknowledges that the filmmakers serve up “a fashionably gritty period drama, conceived by intelligent minds and handsomely decked out” but, he remarks, it is one that lacks any “beating heart or compelling raison d’etre.” Noting that the film ends with the words, “And so the legend begins,” intended presumably to set up a sequel, McCarthy observes that the words make “you want to see something other than the movie you’ve just seen.” The film does receive a handful of fine notices. Michael Phillips in the Chicago Tribune writes: “I liked it. It’s … a satisfying, large-scale genre movie, toned up by its cast.” Roger Moore in the Orlando Sentinel concludes that it’s mostly “fun and rousing entertainment.” That exact description — “rousing entertainment” — is also employed by Lou Lumenick in the New York Post, who, while not offering a formal review, comments on his blog that it is “far better than I expected … an interesting choice to open the Cannes Film Festival, and an entirely respectable one.”