Robin Hood: Five Reasons You'll Love It
With over 70 appearances in films and dozens more in a plethora of TV series over the years, the story of Nottingham's famous folklore hero Robin Hood has been told on the screen many times and in many ways. But from Kevin Costner's smouldering performance in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, to Disney's animated classic and the high camp of Mel Brooks' wonderfully silly send-up Men in Tights, Robin Hood's story has never been told in quite the way it is in Otto Bathurst's 2018 version.
Simply titled Robin Hood, Bathurst's film stars Taron Egerton as the outlaw famous for robbing from the rich and giving to the poor, with Jamie Foxx co-starring as Little John and a supporting cast that includes Tim Minchin as Friar Tuck, Jamie Dornan as Will “Scarlet” Tillman and Ben Mendohlson in the role of the film's antagonist, the Sheriff of Nottingham.
While there have been numerous theories and variations on Robin Hood's origin story, many versions include the idea that he was a nobleman named Robin of Loxley who had fought in the crusades, and it's this version of Robin Hood's story that forms the basis for Bathurst's film. Here, however, Little John is depicted as Arab warrior who proves to be the real spark for Robin Hood's revolutionary actions.
When Robin is sent back to England from the Middle East for attempting to save John's son from execution, John escapes and stows away on the ship, aiming to recruit him in a plan to end the war by cutting off the funding at its source: by robbing the church's treasury in Nottingham.
With Robin Hood in cinemas across the UK now, we caught a screening and rounded up five things to love about Otto Bathurst's movie...
It's a bold step down a well-trodden path
It's fair to say that Robin Hood takes its fair share of liberties with the more established version of the story and if you'e looking for historical accuracy, you won't find much of it here. What Bathurst's film does instead is use the vague, non-specific approach to the time period in which the film is set to create a sort of alternate reality feel to the story's setting.
Nottingham residents are unlikely to recognise their home city as its depicted here, but taken as a sort of fantasy story it does a good job of creating its own reality and if you're willing to suspend your disbelief a little then the quasi-steampunk vibe of the film can be very enjoyable.
Its two leading men are on top form
Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx really do carry this movie and while there are plenty of other good performances on offer too, there's no doubting who the stars of the film are and they make for an entertaining double act here.
The fight choreography is seriously impressive
With so much of the combat in this film being of the up-close-and-personal variety, there are plenty of frenetic fight sequences to keep the action fizzing and the ones involving short-range archery are extremely well co-ordinated and lots of fun to watch.
Tim Minchin is the film's surprise package
The baffling decision to omit Tim Minchin almost entirely from the movie's promotional trailers seems like even more of an oversight after seeing his performance as Friar Tuck, one of the movie's real unsung heroes. Besides the two leads, Minchin is up there with the film's best performers and he's a proper hidden gem in this movie.
It leaves the door wide open for more story, and more world-building
Bathurst's decisions about the film's setting and story are bound to be controversial, but they could prove to be a shrewd move if Robin Hood is well-received by audiences as it leaves plenty of room to build its own universe and continue the story. Whether the film will inspire enough love to make that viable remains to be seen, but this feels like a story still at its beginnings.
Robin Hood is in cinemas now – you can pre-order your copy on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K here in our online store.