Friday, September 30, 2011
Robin Hood (shorter, too: this one's only 120 minutes compared to the earlier film's 140), IRONCLAD barely opened theatrically to dismissive reviews (eeeewwwww: too gory!) but should prove worthy of a large following on cable, DVD and streaming (the latter is how TM watched it, in High-Def, via Netflix). Directed with brawn and brains and co-written (with Erick Kastel) intelligently by Jonathan English (shown below), the movie is never less than interesting and often surprisingly riveting.
first received only a 1.5; the second garnered 3.5; and now Ironclad is up to 6.2 -- I would say that the filmmaker is learning on the job. His latest begins with the signing of the Magna Carta and then offers its own view of what that really bad King John got up to, post-MC. (Not nice, and it should call to mind the betrayal that ended Robin Hood, in which the excellent actor Oscar Issac essayed the role of "Prince" John.)
Knights Templar rise to the occasion, and one of them (the sexy, tight-lipped James Purefoy, above, left, and below, in white skirt and red cross) then raises a (very small) army to stand against the King.
Paul Giamatti, above, plays King John, plus Brian Cox, Charles Dance, Derek Jacobi, Jason Flemyng, with Kate Mara, shown at bottom, as the somewhat unusual "love" interest) -- also proves very good, and the screenplay is full of nice, intelligent touches, such as the scene in which Purefoy recruits a soldier (Rhys Parry Jones, below) who must bid good-bye to his children. The fellow looks at his young son a moment, before saying, "Work hard," and then at his even younger daughter, to whom he advises, "Be polite."