Robin Hood (2018)

Robin Hood
Director: Otto Bathurst
Writer: Ben Chandler, David James Kelly
Cast: Taron Egerton, Jamie Foxx, Ben Mendelsohn, Eve Hewson, Jamie Dornan, Tim Minchin, Paul Anderson, F. Murray Abraham, Ian Peck, Cornelius Booth
Seen on: 20.1.2019

Content Note: racism

Robin (Taron Egerton) is a lord with good money. He’s also in love with Marian (Eve Hewson), a commoner. His life would have been fine if he hadn’t been drafted to fight in the crusades. Once there, he is not willing to accept his commanding officer Guy of Gisborne’s (Paul Anderson) cruelty, so he gets sent home again. Back home Robin realizes that the Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn) had him declared dead, seized his property and is ruling the city with an iron fist. But there is also resistance brewing, led by Will (Jamie Dornan) – and Marian who is with Will now. Just when Robin is about to call it a day and disappear, Yahya (Jamie Foxx) shows up, offering to train Robin to take the fight to the Sheriff.

Robin Hood looks like it has the potential to be delightful trash. Unfortunately it takes itself way, way too seriously and it’s just not good enough to fit the bill of a good film, becoming a rather dreary film instead.

The film posters showing the main characters surrounded by arrows.

If Robin Hood had just the slightest hint of levity, the slightest acknowledgment of how preposterous it is, I think I would have enjoyed it immensely. But unfortunately the film really doesn’t know what genre it should be in and behaves like it is an Oscar-contending masterpiece. The only exception here is the costume department: they know what movie they are making and they lean into it hard. I wish the entire film had been like its costumes.

But starting with the opening scene where the crusades are set in scene like a modern war scene that takes place in a current war, the movie shows that it really doesn’t know itself. And that lack of knowledge is bound to break its neck.

Robin (Taron Egerton) taunting a group of soldiers. There's an explosion in the background.

What it makes the film is incoherent, boring and very badly written. Also, it is damn racist, starting with “oh, Yahya is such an unpronounceable name, let’s just call you John”, but really, everything about Yahya (who is the only character of color in the film who isn’t just an opponent in the crusades) is a white fantasy that made my skin crawl. Maybe it would have been better to just not have a POC in the film at all, if that’s what you make of them.

The absolute highlight of the film is Tim Minchin. But he can’t save this mess, and we really hadn’t brought enough alcohol to drink the movie any better, either.

Robin (Taron Egerton) grabbing a bow with Yahya (Jamie Foxx) standing next to him.

Summarizing: that’s a no.

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