The film attempts to capture the dichotomous nature of Errol Flynn’s very public personal life, but it fails miserably on all fronts.
Errol Flynn is without question one of the most controversial movie stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Although he was one of the most well-known and -loved actors of his generation, he was also a philandering predator whose insatiable appetite for (young) women was legendary. The Last of Robin Hood attempts to capture the dichotomous nature of Flynn’s very public personal life, but it fails miserably on all fronts. The movie is flat, one-dimensional, and devoid of any engaging drama.
Co-writers and co-directors Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland forego a conventional biopic (the only smart decision they made) and instead choose to focus only on the relationship between Errol Flynn (Kevin Kline) and Beverly Aadland (Dakota Fanning). Errol discovers Beverly walking around a studio lot and is immediately attracted to her very obviously young appearance. Under the pretense of furthering her career, he strikes up a friendship with the girl, which soon turns it into a romantic relationship. Despite warnings from friends and his lawyer, Errol doesn’t seem the least bit concerned that Beverly is only 15 years old.
To ensure the public doesn’t call for him to be lynched, Errol gets Beverly’s mother, Florence (Susan Sarandon), on board with the relationship, again promising that he wants Beverly’s career to take off. A shameless social climber, Florence sees only lavish Hollywood parties in her future and ignores the fact that her daughter is being corrupted by a man three times her age. As the movie progresses, Errol struggles with his career beginning to fade and a young bride-to-be who is interested in more than being just arm candy.
Despite an excellent cast and a story with built-in excitement, The Last of Robin Hood is dreadfully boring. Glatzer and Westmoreland linger on the least interesting plot points (Errol’s pathetic attempt on Broadway; Florence’s pitiful jealousy of her daughter) and barely touch on the more engaging and dramatic elements, such as Florence’s spiral into alcoholism and Beverly’s on-set flirtations with other, more age-appropriate men. Had this been a more thoughtful character study, the long, drawn-out conversations between Florence and Errol may have been appealing, but that would require much better writers who have the ability to develop characters with depth.
The whole movie feels like a ready-made product for Lifetime, which may be a result of Lifetime Studios being one of the producers. Sarandon and Kline are both wonderfully talented actors, but here they are sleepwalking through nearly every scene. Kline isn’t playing Errol Flynn; he’s playing the suave Kevin Kline we’ve seen dozens of times before. Sarandon gives Florence no semblance of authenticity, playing her the same way from beginning to end despite the rather extreme journey the character has taken. Only Fanning is attempting a genuine performance. She is very good as Beverly, but given no challenges from her directors.
The Last of Robin Hood feels like a movie that should have been dumped straight to Redbox. The script is poorly constructed, the actors are barely present, and the pacing is completely wrong. Skip this movie at all costs. | Matthew Newlin