300 Film Review
InSITE Reporter Alfie Kenward reviews the historical action/adventure film '300'
An incredible, brutal story beautifully told with gut busting violence and superb acting. But enough about Gladiator. 300 is a long violent yawn. The Spartans the mythic, 300 strong ancient Roman regiment whom used their superior manliness to beat back hordes of barbarians till the rest of the Roman army could be summoned are reproduced here with a startling focus. Yet no matter how many different ways Zack Snyder (director) finds to film a gruff looking bloke in a loin cloth being torn to slush the film is dogged by a miasma of “huh , that was a bit dull”.
Frank Miller’s graphic novel style is staunchly brought to life with a bit of a brown filter and lots and lots of men being men together. The word Spartan appears on average every 1.6 minutes and the first time you see one of the heralded combat sequences you will go ‘wow’ it’s only after the first hour and a half that you begin to wonder why Zak Snyder has locked just a few cinema goers into a room with nothing but popcorn to defend themselves from 117 long minutes of brown and red.
Frank Miller's graphic novel style is staunchly brought to life with a bit of a brown filter and lots and lots of men being men together
Interestingly the bits without swords are some of the films finest moments, briskly shot and in keeping with the general theme of pre-medieval hardship. When Gerald Butler (playing ‘King Leonidas’) climbs a rather challenging cliff to seek advice from its spirited inhabitants we are treated to one of the films well scripted and grounding sequences, sadly these rare glimpses of plot only emphasize the humor-less husk which surrounds them. The Spartans continuously talk about how this is all in a day’s work, which is a shame, because the constant reminder that this is actually quite average isn’t what 300 needs.
The historical inaccuracies aren’t an issue, nor is the fact that real Spartan’s didn’t choose to gel their hair before battle, these things we forgive, we can also forgive the Spartan’s jolly nature. When the Elephants come tumbling into shot, very few people will be thinking that’s not right. In fact generally speaking educational documentaries aren’t like this. But those who did expect something more educational from 300 highlight a good point, the audience needs something to take away with them, something tangible.
Here is where I’d write the paragraph saying that, if you’re happy with your slasher flicks and reckon Equilibrium was a bit too cerebral you’ll probably feel this to be money well spent. The problem is better, gorier browner films already exist, if this was 1999 in a pre-matrix, pre-Lord of the Rings world Snider and Kurt Johnstad (co-writer) would have done well. Yet today we expect something deeper than a 360 shot of people dying. 300 is a hard-core celebration of what war is like in films, unfortunately it’s got far more in common with actual war, it’s boring violent and very, very long.
Warner Bros Official 300 website
View the movie trailer www.apple.com/trailers/wb/300/
More on this film at Wikipedia