When King Richard the Lionheart is killed during a battle in France in 1199, the archer Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe) and his closest men return to England disguised as knights. Director Ridley Scott’s announcement that he’d make a Robin Hood movie was greeted with skepticism. This is one of cinema’s most oft-told tales… but he came up with a way to make it work once again, this time telling the story of how Robin became a hood, grounding it in some historical facts and presenting the film in the mold of Gladiator and Braveheart. Expect a lot of mud. Crowe is ideal in the lead and the film is a handsome, clever and engaging (but also overlong) adventure.
2010-U.S.-Britain. 140 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Russell Crowe, Ridley Scott, Brian Grazer. Directed by Ridley Scott. Screenplay: Brian Helgeland. Cast: Russell Crowe (Robin Longstride), Cate Blanchett (Marion Loxley), Max von Sydow (Sir Walter Loxley), William Hurt, Mark Strong, Oscar Isaac… Danny Huston, Eileen Atkins, Mark Addy.
Trivia: Bryan Singer and Sam Raimi were reportedly considered for directing duties; Christian Bale as Robin Hood and Sienna Miller as Marion. Atkins replaced Vanessa Redgrave as Prince John’s mother.
Last word: “At the end of one day [William Hurt] was very morose and sitting in his trailer and I was – the Merry Men were all sitting around having a beer together and I said, ‘Come and join us.’ And he goes, ‘Ah, you know, man, I can’t. I just don’t understand what’s goin’ on, you know? I’m out there. I’m doing my thing, but not once did Ridley cover me in a close-up and I don’t understand. I mean, isn’t this an important part of the story? I mean, I’m not trying to overstate my contribution here but I just don’t understand.’ I was like, ‘Bill, he had five cameras going. He had five cameras. He did four takes. Between each take he’s gonna change the lens and change the way a particular camera moves. I absolutely guarantee you, he’s got more close-ups than you can shake a stick at.’ He goes, ‘Is that how he works it?’ ‘That’s how he works. Did he interrupt you? Did he stop you from doing anything? No. When you’re not doing what he wants, that’s when he’ll come talk to you.'” (Crowe, Collider)