"..a bardy view!"

Russell Crowe and Robin Hood….

And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next. So said Russell in Gladiator which rumour had it were words he was loath to utter. It could be the testament on his gravestone.

Russell doesn't suffer fools lightly and is unduly sensitive when remote criticism is hurled. Somewhere along the line he has adopted a blokey persona, devoid of the trappings of stardom. Having romper-stomped in his catalystic movie of a similar name, he rose to prominence with a superb performance in LA Confidential, and by association with Ridley Scott was propelled to super-stardom in Gladiator.

Russell can come across as arrogant and self-opinionated. He is the persona of average guy made good, and tends to treat lesser mortals with disdain.

His new movie is Robin Hood which he regards as the definitive version, and not to be remotely associated with all those gone before. He regards his predecessor's versions with Errol Flynn, Richard Greene, Richard Todd and Kevin Costner as flamboyant, romantic takes with little historical accuracy. Not for Russell the Lincoln Green and tights.

The reality is that his movie was originally called "Nottingham", and he was signed up to play the sheriff. It was meant as a more sympathetic view of Robin's arch enemy. After all – it wasn't his fault that he had to tax the people to prop up his kings exhausted treasury, etc etc…

Due to difficulties with the writers and the script, it passed through several incarnations, until eventually Ridley Scott took it over and invited his familiar entourage to flesh it out. However this new movie of Robin Hood is no more accurate than any gone before – just another variation on a theme, but with more extras, bigger names, more sweeping scenery and more money.

The usual suspects are there – the dastardly King John, the heroic Richard the Lionheart, the Sheriff of Nottingham, and the merry band of men namely Little John, Friar Tuck et al. Maid Marian has become a feisty fighting wench. What is unusual is that John and Richard's mother Eleanor of Aquitaine gets an appearance, which certainly gives more of a nod to historical context.

This movie has been hyped beyond excess. Russell Crowe pontificates about his serious interpretation, attempting to justify a myth with substance.

I admire Russell Crowe as an actor, but like all great movie stars, I prefer him on screen than off it, but I suppose he's contractually charged to promote it ad nauseam, which is clearly stretching his tether in some interviews.

Unfortunately it's his accent which is getting more attention than the actual substance of the film, and nobody is sure where he hails from. Comparisons are being drawn with the Irish brogue (which he's particularly peeved about), Geordie, Scouse, Yorkshire and the Midlands. Some wags have even suggested it's German! 

Film critics have said that Crowe deliberately tried to vary the accent to indicate the lack of information of a true regional origin of Robin Hood – a man for all places so to speak. However this smacks as a desperate attempt to be kind. The consensus of the experts is that the continuity editor botched things up.

I'd better go and see the movie.



May 12, 2010 - Posted by | Film, History, United Kingdom | , , , ,

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