April 5, 2008

Movie Recommendation

Robin Hood. This is the 1991 version that was only shown as a miniseries in the US out of fear of competing with Kevin Costner's execrable Prince of Thieves, which came out that same year, but this is the far superior version. It's sort of weird to see Patrick Bergin, which I think most people know as the villain in Sleeping with the Enemy, as the hero, but it works, as does the rest of the cast. This includes a then 21-year-old Uma Thurman as Maid Marion, who plays her with a good deal more pluck and vitality than the role usually gets.

Another thing notable about the movie is that the usual villains -- the Sheriff of Nottingham, Guy of Guisborne, etc. -- are absent. Instead, the story is recast as a conflict between the Saxons, who had been living in England for centuries, and the recent conquerors the Normans. Robin is Sir Robert Hode, a Saxon landowner who gets tossed off his land by the Normans and becomes the outlaw of legend. The scenery is very naturalistic and plays up the semi-pagan nature of medieval England -- there's even a Green Man at one point. At the same time, there's still plenty of wit and humor, as a good Robin Hood movie should have.

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