The Last of Robin Hood – TIFF 2013 Review

Released: September 6, 2013 at Toronto International Film Festival. Directed by: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland. Starring: Kevin Kline, Dakota Fanning, Susan Sarandon. Runtime: 94 min. 

The Last Of Robin Hood“The Last of Robin Hood” chronicles the final months of Errol Flynn (Kevin Kline), the iconic Robin Hood star and well-known ladies man. During this time, he had a romance with the under-age starlet Beverly Aadland (Dakota Fanning), his last love, and he was her first. Susan Sarandon portrays the world’s worst Mom, Florence Aadland, who agrees to go around with Errol and her daughter so the press doesn’t think anything fishy is going on.

The tale is told in a stylish and entertaining manner. Beverly and Florence’s personality clashes are interesting. Florence is willing to do just about anything to get the spotlight shone on her, while Bev is completely indifferent about fame. Fame is Flo’s dream, not Bev’s. This lifestyle is shoved onto Beverly. Flo lost her leg in a bad car accident when she was younger. I theorize that Florence would have liked to eventually pursue an acting career, but couldn’t because her prosthetic leg held her back. No matter the case, she is the world’s worst mother.

Beverly is also one bad actress. When Beverly is on-screen shooting a movie, it’s hilarious because during her one shoot, she’s absolutely terrible – but Dakota Fanning’s performance is good. You can tell when she’s acting well, and acting purposefully bad. As her father says in one powerful scene, Bev cannot act her way out of a paper bag. The father is portrayed by Patrick St. Esprit, who is effective in one scene. Sarandon brings it to her role, and it must be challenging to portray a mother that pretends to make sacrifice after sacrifice for her daughter, but it’s mostly just what she wants.

The romance between Errol and Bev might be controversial because of their age difference, but it seems real, and makes for an interesting subject. Kevin Kline is the perfect choice for Errol Flynn, and it’s interesting to learn all of this about the original Robin Hood. His performance, and the rest of the primary cast, elevates the film to a whole new level. It’s stylish and there’s a decent amount of comic relief. This is an enjoyable passion project from directors Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland. It’s never boring, but the content is repetitive. Much like “My Week with Marilyn,” this bio pic is light on just about everything. It’s good that way, but it doesn’t help it stand out.

Score74/100

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Hide and Seek (2005)

Hide and SeekHide and Seek

Release Date: January 28, 2005

Director: John Polson

Stars: Robert De Niro, Dakota Fanning, Famke Janssen

Runtime: 101 min

Tagline: Come out come out whatever you are

Plot: As a widower tries to piece together his life in the wake of his wife’s suicide, his daughter finds solace — at first — in her imaginary friend.

Hide and Seek is too mediocre to star Robert De Niro, but he and Dakota Fanning make it tolerable. One doesn’t really know if it’s a ghost story or just an eerie stalker story, all we know it’s psychological and it tries very hard to be creepy. The flashback dream sequence that De Niro has often is strange, and the party has a cool production like Titanic and even The Shining. This tries hard to please its audience, so much so it has four alternate endings on its DVD. If you don’t like the original ending, you’ll probably like at least one of the four other ones…

The movie is slightly bland and forgettable and sort of just moves along at a slow pace, and the town-folk are rather strange. Elisabeth Shue’s character doesn’t do much for the story, except make the mysterious imaginary friend called “Charlie” angry, making the little Emily angry, in turn. The movie does get saved by a memorable third act, but everything preceding it, is dark, often creepy, but overall boring. The ending is a good surprise, and the movie keeps you guessing.

There are a few okay scares, especially when lights flash on and off. The performances are just adequate, but the talented actors aren’t utilized well. The thing is, the characters are bland and sort-of uninteresting. They’re so lifeless that they couldn’t even care for a cat they might or might not own. The storytelling doesn’t bother to tell us if the cat is a family pet, if it’s a stray, or if it comes with the house. (I’d rather a pool if anything comes with my new house. I’m allergic to cats.) The cinematography is cool and it’s shot in an interesting fashion. The movie isn’t great and overall, it isn’t memorable; but it is eerie enough to (probably) put me on-edge if I ever play hide-n-go-seek again.

52/100