Princess of Thieves
directed by Peter Hewitt
(Walt Disney, 2001)

Long before Keira Knightley sailed with pirates, she rode with robbers.

Princess of Thieves, a made-for-TV movie, stars a 15-year-old Knightley as Robin Hood's spirited daughter, Gwyn. Robin (Stuart Wilson), the father she barely knows, is fresh home from the Crusades with his lifelong friend Will Scarlett (Crispin Letts). King Richard has died, leaving Prince John (Jonathan Hyde) once again to seize power over England, but Richard's illegitimate son Philip (Stephen Moyer) also has claims to the crown. Robin and Will are acting to place Philip on the throne, while Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham (Malcolm McDowell) oppose them.

Forgetting for a moment that the movie describes a chapter in history that never actually occurred (Prince John succeeded Richard without opposition), Princess of Thieves is a fun, next-generation romp in Sherwood Forest. Robin, who's always been a better patriot than father, wants to leave his young daughter safe at home, while Gwyn chafes under the restriction and longs to oppose the prince by her father's side. With the aid of her childhood friend, Froderick (Del Synnott), she attempts to do just that.

This family-friendly film is relatively bloodless, and Knightley handles her role far more maturely than most 15-year-olds could hope. While the swordplay is no great shakes, it's a good action-adventure story that parents and children can enjoy together.

by Tom Knapp
23 December 2006

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