Cinema Review: Robin Hood

Accepting Judi Dench as Ian Fleming’s ‘M’ was a big ask at first, but it worked in the end. Likewise, Jamie Foxx as a black Muslim John (the ‘Little’ is dispensed with) in this latest Robin Hood caper is initially jarring. But you quickly get used to it, as you do with Eve Hewson’s less than maidenly Marian. In any case, a narrator tells us at the outset that this version of the fable will be like no other with which we are familiar, and he is dead right about that. Director Otto Bathurst, who has taken more than just a casual leaf out of the Guy Ritchie book of slam-dunk filmmaking, strays not too far from historical context while mixing sets, props and costumes (the Sheriff of Nottingham is dressed like a character from Doctor Who) in a visual extravaganza. More importantly, the narrative holds together perfectly as the boyish, cocky Robin (Taron Egerton) is presented as a revolutionary in the mould of Che Guevara, and John his mentor. Ben Mendelsohn is superb as the villainous Sheriff with a traumatised childhood (he owns the movie) and the surprise packet is Tim Minchin as a diffident but canny Friar Tuck. Will Scarlett (Jamie Dornan), who has been having it off with Marian because it is believed that Robin was killed in the Third Crusade, is seen as a sort of union rep with questionable motives, but there is no reference at all to King John – it is as though Nottingham, not London, is where power resides in England. The action is set against a sociopolitical backdrop of exploited workers and villagers being heavily taxed to support the war against the Saracens in the Holy Land (sound familiar?), while the corrupt and bloated Church of Rome emerges as the monster that casts the darkest shadow. Most pundits have hurled the rounds of the kitchen at this film, but despite the heavy-handed and often intrusive musical score, I thought it fab and can’t wait for the promised sequel.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Become a supporter of The Echo

A note from the editorial team

Some of The Echo’s editorial team: journalists Paul Bibby and Aslan Shand, editor Hans Lovejoy, photographer Jeff Dawson and Mandy Nolan

The Echo has never underestimated the intelligence and passion of its readers. In a world of corporate banality and predictability, The Echo has worked hard for more than 30 years to help keep Byron and the north coast unique with quality local journalism and creative ideas. We think this area needs more voices, reasoned analysis and ideas than just those provided by News Corp, lifestyle mags, Facebook groups and corporate newsletters.

The Echo is one hundred per cent locally owned and one hundred per cent independent. As you have probably gathered from what is happening in the media industry, it is not cheap to produce a weekly newspaper and a daily online news service of any quality.

We have always relied entirely on advertising to fund our operations, but often loyal readers who value our local, independent journalism have asked how they could help ensure our survival.

Any support you can provide to The Echo will make an enormous difference. You can make a one-off contribution or a monthly one. With your help, we can continue to support a better informed local community and a healthier democracy for another 30 years.”

Echonetdaily is made possible by the support of all of our advertisers and is brought to you by this week's sponsor Brunswick Picture House.