Film Review: Robin Hood

Robin Hood 2018 Source: Studio Cana

A vigilante who steals from the rich and gives to the poor; Robin Hood is a story we are all very aware of, one that has been told countless times over.

Naturally, you may be thinking, “Do we really need another Robin Hood film? Didn’t the story get butchered by Russel Crowe only recently?” and if this film is anything to go by then the answer is a resounding no. No, we did not need another Robin Hood film.

Robin Hood tries to set itself apart from its predecessors from the very beginning of the film. Friar Tuck (played by Australia’s very own Tim Minchin) instructs audiences at the beginning to “Forget history, forget what you thinking you know, forget what you’ve heard before.” It’s a simple instruction that sets the tone for the film, as a movie that tries desperately to set itself apart from the rest by attempting a fresh, gritty take.

Robin Hood, directed by Otto Bathurst, sees Taron Edgerton playing the titular role of Robin of Oxley sent away from the love of his life; Marion (Eve Hewson) to fight in the war in Arabia. After seeing endless amounts of senseless murder, Robin is sent back home only to discover that he had been declared dead two years prior. Marion has since had to surrender his property to the Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn) and she has begun a relationship with Will (Jamie Dornan), a character who speaks for those that can not be heard. It is the loss of his home and the love of his life that makes Robin team up with John (Jamie Foxx) and fight a revolt against the Sheriff’s war efforts in Arabia.  

Robin Hood faces a few problems from the beginning. The film is shot in a manner very reminiscent of 300 and tries hard to bring in lots of action from the get-go. The problem is that none of the action feels exciting, it just feels rushed. There are no moments to savour the action on screen as everything is continually being rushed from one shot to a next. None of it looks remotely plausible either, with one arrow making the same amount of impact that a bomb would, it just feels ridiculous and unnecessary, a theme which continues throughout the movie.

The actors seemed to be unsure of where to take their characters or what to do with their roles. Edgerton has already proven his ability to portray emotionally complex characters, particularly in the Kingsman films, but when playing Robin Hood, he seemed unsure of what to do with his dialogue or how to interact with those around him. However, credit due when needed, Edgerton does look like a natural with a bow and arrow.

There seemed to be no chemistry within the cast, and the fact that there is not one ounce of character development or backstory in the film makes it appear as the actors are just trying to run through their dialogue as quickly and painlessly as possible. It’s a shame as well because it is such a strong cast of known acting talents but in this film, their acting abilities get lost in the dry monologues and choppy editing.

One of the major problems with the film is that Robin Hood doesn’t have an identity. In an attempt to create a new storyline that would interest audiences, the actual film itself is a discombobulated mess which doesn’t tie together. The film is meant to be set in Nottingham, but there are no scenic characteristics to suggest that’s where the film takes place. If it wasn’t for someone mentioning Nottingham every two seconds, you wouldn’t be far off thinking that the film is set in an Asian country, because that’s the feeling that the set gives off. The characters can’t even seem to decide where they come from, each supporting a different accent which seemingly fades in and out as they please.

Even the costumes in the film don’t work. The desire to give Robin Hood a fresh new twist is evident all over the film, but if they wanted to rejuvenate the film in such a modern manner it needed to be committed to complete. Half the characters walk around with outfits that could easily be bought if you went down to your nearest shopping centre today, it just made no sense.

Robin Hood had potential, which makes it all that much more frustrating to watch. It could’ve been a great movie if it was executed properly- but it wasn’t. It falls short on all accounts, and if you’re left wanting more after the credits roll it is because Robin Hood fails to answer any of the big questions that it sets itself up for.

The ending of the movie sets itself up for a sequel, but I have a high amount of doubt that it will eventuate.


Robin Hood is in cinemas now

FilmJess Irvine