Cast: Taron Egerton, Jamie Foxx, Ben Mendelsohn, Eve Hewson, Jamie Dornan
Directed by Otto Bathurst
Written by: Ben Chandler and David James Kelly
In 2018 we were treated to yet another remake of Robin Hood. I love the legend – it’s vague enough for each version to have it’s own individual storyline yet it presents archetypal characters that can withstand the ages and speak to all types of audiences. As is often the case with remakes, there was always the concern that it could be too similar to older versions and therefore boring, or seem unnecessary. However, I found this movie to be fresh and exciting, a different take on the classic story intertwined with humour and passion.
Otto Bathurst’s interpretation is a real mix of a traditional story intertwined with contemporary concepts. It’s quite clever really because the contemporary elements aren’t explicit, the costumes have modern twists – we have explosions and wit that we might not expect from a film set in medieval Britain but all the while we are drawn into this world that is so different to our own.
To get to witness Robin in the Holy Land is the part of this film that grabbed me, it shows his skill, his naivety and his humanity, all of which are developed throughout the story. Just a few short scenes but we really get to know his character and, of course, the start of a partnership between Robin and John. The chemistry between Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx is undeniable, through both humorous and more serious moments there is a connection between them, all drawn from their experiences at the start of the movie.
A large part of the story is set in a mine, something that some audiences disliked as it’s not historically accurate with the implied time period in Nottingham. There are some situations where historical accuracy is essential – Robin Hood is not one of them. Bathurst’s use of the mine setting emphasised the integral theme of the rich/poor divide which is so key to the tale of Robin Hood. Visually it exhibits poverty in a dark and upsetting manner whilst creating a platform to demonstrate the unity of those brought together through kindness. For me, this had a great impact as usually the poor in Robin Hood stories still tend to live in cute little villages and their struggles were presented to the audience through dialogue more than visually.
This film wont be to everyone’s taste, I think the storyline and dialogue were really strong but without the leading cast members I’m not sure it would have been as alluring. The weakest link of this film was Eve Hewson’s portrayal of Marian – perhaps I’m a little harsh because Marian is one of my favourite characters, but I struggled to connect with her which was disappointing because she’s written as a strong leader, with a soft heart and a powerful voice but Hewson’s Marian was overshadowed by the strength of the men around her. Plus, her accent changes two or three times throughout the film which is distracting. The critics did not like this film, majority of the reviews out there are rather negative, but I think you need to take it at face value.
This film is a bit of fantasy fun, it’s an interesting story with twists and turns balanced out with good action and humour. If you like a good Robin Hood story it’s worth a watch. This film wasn’t made to be an awards winner, just an enjoyable, action-packed, family movie.