Friday 30 June 2023

Movie Review: 300 (2006)

Genre: Historical War Action
Director: Zack Snyder
Starring: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, Michael Fassbender, Rodrigo Santoro
Running Time: 117 minutes

Synopsis: Like all males born in Sparta, King Leonidas I (Gerard Butler) was raised to be a ferocious warrior. Married to Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey), his rule is threatened by the massive invading army of Persian King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro). The Sparta elders rule out an all-out war, so Leonidas gathers 300 Spartans and marches north to mount a defence by funneling the invaders into a narrow gorge. Leonidas' vastly outnumbered warriors are helped by other Greeks, but still face impossible odds in a battle that lasts for days.

What Works Well: Using historical events and a Frank Miller comic series as a canvass, director Zack Snyder paints a stunningly extravagant amalgamation of Sin City and Gladiator. Larry Fong's cinematography, a copper-toned colour palette, seamless special effects, a parade of near-naked torsos, historically self-conscious dialogue, and Tyler Bates' eternal music score combine to recreate an epic meat grinder of a final stand. Gerard Butler bites into a peak machismo role with enthusiasm and spouts his suitably corny one-liners with unbridled conviction. Lena Headey fights the homefront battle as Queen Gorgo dives into the arena of dirty politics to plead support for her husband's quest.

What Does Not Work As Well: The persistent narration unnecessarily amplifies the self-imposed grandeur, while all the characters good and bad are trapped in static archetypes.

Conclusion: Gruesome artistry, constructed with intentional campiness upon rousing themes of militaristic honour and freedom.

King Leonidas: Spartans! Ready your breakfast and eat hearty... FOR TONIGHT, WE DINE, IN HELL!

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