Sunday, June 12, 2011


300; Action adventure, USA, 2006; D: Zack Snyder, S: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, Dominic West, David Wenham

Sparta in 480 BC, during the Greco-Persian Wars. The seemingly unstoppable king Xerxes wants to create Greater Persia on the expense of the Greek territory, yet Spartan king Leonidas bravely decides to round up 300 of his best men and defend his home in a nearly suicidal mission for the battle of Thermopylae. Xerxes' army is numbered in tens of thousands, yet they are unable to break through Leonidas' phalanx formation in the narrow passage. Still, Xerxes manages to sway the deformed Ephialtes to join his kingdom and show him the back exit to surround and kill Leonidas unit. Still, upon hearing that news, Greeks massively go to fight for their homeland.

Despite a mixed critical reaction, everyone should universally hand it to author Frank Miller for one thing in this comic-book adaptation: "300" managed to make a gripping history lesson out of an event lost in the sands of time, actually so gripping that even teenagers went on to see the movie and perceive it as modern-actual, never for a second thinking it is from 480 BC. The "washed out/saturated" colors of the cinematography conjured up the feeling of a living graphing novel, which has some aesthetic and stylistic appeal, yet the 'rough' and cheap touches bloated the simplistic dramaturgy. The black and white depictions of enemies (ecstatic physiology) as well as pompous display of the story are a setback, yet despite splatter violence (decapitated heads) this is still one of the few rare examples of 'cool movies' that actually honestly speak about honor, loyalty and integrity and that is something that deserves praise. In one great example of Spartan courage, the Persian emissary spots the wall built out of dead Persian soldiers and warns the Greeks that many Persian "arrows will darken the Sun", upon which one Spartan says: "Then we will be fighting in the shade". When Leonidas departs from his wife forever, he doesn't say a word, but the narrator does: "Farewell, my love". Controversy was sparked by the depiction of Persians in the movie, some even interpreting it as a Western imagination of fighting against the modern day Iran, though philosopher Slavoj Žižek subversively observed how Persians "shoot arrows at distant enemies", which could be interpreted as "a modern army from one big country shooting at simple enemy soldiers with missiles from the other side of the world". In any event, a stimulative movie.


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