The movie begins with Robin fighting alongside King Richard, the Lionheart at the fag end of the crusades when they are trying to take the Chalus Castle. Robin commits the mistake of speaking his mind out when asked to do so by the King, and in turn gets punished to be whipped. Luckily for him, the King gets killed in the battle before the actual punishment is handed out, providing Robin and his mates an opportunity to escape and find their own ways home. Fate puts them in a situation where the King’s knights are ambushed by Sir Godfrey and his French allies, and gives them control of the King’s Crown which needs to be taken back to London, as well as possession of the family sword of Sir Walter Loxley. Robin then decides to pretend to be Sir Robert Loxley carrying the crown back to England, as this is his easiest way to get back to England.
Back in England, at Nottingham, Lady Marion (Sir Robert Loxley’s wife) is struggling to keep the Loxley household running. She is plagued by problems such as high taxes to the crown, a lecherous Sheriff of Nottingham, and constant grain theft raids by the runaway children of the village. She however, is depicted as a fiesty character who knows well how to keep her wits about her, and manages to make ends meet with the limited means at her disposal. Robin’s arrival at Nottingham however, changes things at Nottingham. Sir Walter requests Robin to impersonate his son, in order to prevent the family lands from being taken over completely by the crown, and this puts him in the uncomfortable situation of playing Lady Marion’s husband.
In the meantime, Sir Godfrey, who all this while has secretly been plotting with King Philip of France, manages to secure the confidence of the new King of England, John, who gives him the authority to take a small group of men and collect long outstanding dues from all the barons to the North of England. Sir Godfrey has an agenda of his own in this regard. In the name of tax collections, he unleashes terror in these regions and effectively manages to get all the Northern barons to put together an army to march against King John.
How Robin gets caught up in this situation, how he learns about his father and childhood from Sir Walter, and whether they manage to thwart King Philip’s invasion of England makes up for the rivetting climax sequence of the movie. This sequence is a Ridley Scott battle sequence, and therefore, any words in this review really cannot do full justice to the cinematic excellence displayed on the screen.
What worked really well for the movie are the amazing chemistry between Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett. Blanchett remains one of my all time favorite actors simply because of the depth she manages to put into each and every character she plays on screen. Whether she is enacting the role of Brad Pitt’s love interest as Daisy Fuller in ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button‘, or playing Katharine Hepburn in ‘The Aviator’, or an over-the-top character such as Irina Spalko in ‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull‘, Cate Blanchett manages to leave an indelible mark and impression on the minds of her viewers and fans. No wonder, she is one of the highest rated actors in Hollywood today. Robin Hood is no different and her portrayal of the fiesty Lady Marion is just another feather in her cap.
Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott work well together. And while some of the battle sequences of this movie remind you of ‘Gladiator’, the fact that this is a much darker movie, and deals with a more famous legend, makes this movie a worth watch. The sheer intensity that Crowe brings to the role, coupled with the large parts of grey that his character displays makes him the perfect casting coup for this role. Watch this movie if you like either of them, and you won’t be disappointed.