If all the world’s stage, then surely some players crave the spotlight more than others. And if ever there was a player, it was Errol Flynn. The Last of Robin Hood tells the twisted story of three people who will do almost anything for fame. That each must settle for infamy is one of the juicy, yet unexplored ironies in a movie that doesn’t know which story it wants to tell. By taking an evenhanded and humanistic approach to such salacious subject matter, the filmmakers have effectively squashed any possibility for tawdry fun. Instead, we get a bone-dry historical drama that skimps on the history and bypasses the drama entirely.
There is that old adage that states if one does not stand for something they very well could fall for anything. Well, this apt sentiment certainly applies in co-writer/director Kelly Reichardt’s simmering eco-terrorism thriller Night Moves. Methodical, moody and breezily reflective, Reichardt’s suspense piece has a slow-footed pacing but registers with quiet resonance in its message about lingering environmental indifference and the retaliation against the establishment that allows for such blatant negligence.
The Last of Robin Hood depicts the last romance of Errol Flynn’s life from the not-so-tender age of 48 until his death. Who was the lucky girl? Beverly Aadland. One person’s definition of luck is most people’s definition of statutory rape—something that Flynn had some trouble with before—as Miss Aadland was under 18 at the time. This is the crux of the conundrum behind this story and what would regularly confound a filmmaker in bringing it to the screen—even Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita screenplay was rejected and reworked by Stanley Kubrick. Fortunately for the audience, Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland are no regular filmmakers (see Grief, The Fluffer, Quinceanera). They have written and directed a film about three protagonists (Beverly Aadland, her mother Florence, and Errol Flynn) with a vague outward antagonist—society, perhaps? And somehow, through the grace of such strong characters and writing, it works.
What separates life on the fringe of society from being outside of society entirely? It’s that line of demarcation that fascinates Kelly Reichardt, whose particularly American take on “slow cinema” collides with our own expectation of the requirements of the thriller genre in Night Moves, which cleverly cloaks its true thematic concerns in familiar story tropes.
While the soundtrack to The Runaways may not be revelational, it, like the film, provides a satisfactory, if somewhat fast-paced, dip into ’70s sleaze-rock. In a film that focuses women trying to make their way in what was essentially a man’s world, it seems a bit odd that only Suzi Quatro gets top billing on …