Pix & Flix

Movie News & Reviews from Hennessey Hometown Critics.
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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Crowe Is a Robin

I had a child's fascination with Robin Hood, perhaps from watching Richard Greene on 1950's television in The Adventures of Robin Hood. I loved Errol Flynn's Puckish characterization in the classic film, laughed over Men in Tights, fell for the villain in the BBC version of Ivanhoe, and, in general, took every opportunity to revisit the story. The 2010 Universal Studios telling of the tale transcends all others.

This is a man's Robin Hood, a powerful, tightly-wound Man's Man portrayed by Russell Crowe under the direction of Ridley Scott. It is a strong combination. Scott orchestrates with a sure hand, measuring out an epic that takes its time to set the scene and then sweeps the audience away.

Epics always rest on the precipice edge of ridiculousness, a single misstep and the grand orchestration falls into tinny discord, but Scott is masterful at bringing focus. The screen is filled with grandeur, grand landscapes, masses of people, massive architecture, battle carnage, but always the focus is on the individual, the face, the eyes. The sweep of historical events is backdrop for the idea in the spotlight--the Man, the Woman, the Children. It is a film that leaves the audience with faces, and the artistry draws a strong sword and cuts a blood red line under the theme: "Rise Rise Again, until Lambs become Lions."

It is an intelligent film and, though it does not require an understanding of the historical setting, it is enriched by knowledge of the players and their place in history. It has good men and bad men and bloody battles and a leisurely romance, beautiful scenery, a beautiful Lady Marion deftly drawn by Cate Blanchett, but it is Russell Crowe's movie. He redefines Robert of Locksley.

Robin has come down from the trees and become a man.

Both the theatrical version and the Director's Cut of the movie are available for checkout at the library.

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