Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Movie Review: 300

When I heard the name of this move, I wasn’t too sure whether I wanted to invest my time to watch it. But after my friend a frequent movie watcher assured me that she had read the book and it was the story of the clash of civilizations, I decided to take a chance. Did I like it? Well I quite loved the movie’s portrayal of patriotism, treachery, politics and how people use these things to achieve their own ends.

Directed by Zack Snyder, of Dawn of the Dead, fame, 300 is an adaptation of Frank Miller’s novel. Once again Snyder proves that when passion, creativity and hardwork are the inputs, the output is always a great story. The movie, set in 480 BC narrates the story of the legendary courage and valor displayed by a band of 300 Spartan soldiers under the leadership of King Leonidas. The war at Thermopylae in which the million-strong army led by Persian King Xeres flounders and falters in the face of a small posse of 300 Spartans, is effectively portrayed.

Gerard Butler who plays Leonidas, the wise king of Sparta delivers an exemplary performance. Raised with the utmost ideals — honor, duty, glory — Leonidas is a brilliant military strategist and egalitarian champion of personal freedom. The movie starts with a depiction of how a Spartan soldier is trained to be a fighter for life and how he is hardened to live anywhere, eat anything and undergo all kinds of hardships. Believed to be the direct descendants of Hercules himself, Spartans are brave and freedom loving people whom the Persian King wants to enslave and subjugate.

So when Persia seeks to declare sovereignty over Sparta, Leonidas rebuffs the declaration and announces that his countrymen must fight to preserve their way of life. As per procedure Leonidas seeks the permission of the council to go to war and is denied as the Oracle says it is not the right time to go to war. The moral conflict within the king whether to abide by the councils words or to go to war (which his heart tells him to do) is excellently shown in this movie. In my opinion the story of this movie is not about history, but of confidence, courage, faith, and for believing in one’s duty, perseverance, loyalty to the King and country, patriotism and love for freedom and liberty.

The film also portrays the cunning politics which was at place. Politicians who would betray their country and people for money and sex. Ultimately treachery is what causes the downfall of the brave army of 300 and ensures temporary victory of the Persians.

While the cinematography, dialogue delivery and acting is exceptional, the portrayal of the Persian King as an effeminate individual is quite off beat. With so many body piercing and jewellery etc, King Xeres looks rather funny and nothing like a king. The only downside to this movie is the excessive blood and gore. Warring techniques of two different armies are very effectively portrayed in this movie. But so much blood and gore may not work in its favour in the box office.

No comments: