Saturday, March 10, 2007


Rating: 8.5/10

What can I say? Cinematic brilliance. This is the future of film. CGI rivaled only by The Lord of the Rings. A script to die for. Brilliant direction and a sweet fucken cast. Memorable lines and brilliant images that overwhelm you, stolen panel for panel from the pages of Frank Miller. It reads like a fucken recipe or perfection.

When the trailers came out last year, I knew I was in for a wild ride. Nevertheless, it was with some trepidation that I entered the theatre. Most trailers today just showcase the best bits of the movie; the rest is utter prosaic banality that is unbearably boring. I need not have worried. Every scene from 300 is postcard perfect, every line memorable and epic, every Spartan larger than life. This movie will be the benchmark for sword and sandal epics for aeons to come. First, we had Spartacus and Ben Hur. The 90’s gave us William Wallace and Maximus . 300 ushers in the new era of historical epics with a bang.

The only quibble I have with the movie is it’s slight deviation from the graphic novel. Leonidas’ wife’s perfidy with Theron for his support in the Council is not mentioned in the comic and is inserted in the movie for dramatic effect. As to its historical accuracy, I am uncertain but I take issue with the idea that a Spartan wife would offer carnal pleasure in exchange for favours rendered. Granted, said favour would have resulted in her husband being saved and in the salvation and greater glory of Sparta, but I still find it hard to stomach.

300 fully immerses us into the draconian and harsh world the Spartans lived in, where violence was a byword and discipline, unwavering loyalty, honor and obedience were the cornerstones. A world where no quarter was spared for the weak, no weakness betrayed the strong and might was right. Where children were pushed out into jungles to learn survival and wives expected husbands to either conquer or die. Like Xerxes tells us, the Spartans had one heckuva fascinating culture.

The perfectly filmed fight sequences leave nothing to be desired; they are a perfect joy to behold. The Spartan fighting method is a work of aesthetic beauty, comparable only to the Grammaton cleric John Preston’s fascinating GunKata in Equilibrium. We cheer the Greeks on as horde after horde of Xerxes slave Persians break like water upon stone on Leonidas’ indomitable force of 300.

The visuals are stunning and overwhelming, showing us glimpses of both the beautiful and the grotesque. Xerxes army boasts of quite a few oddities, an executioner with blades for arms, some really screwed up harem girls and a hunchback traitor with a horribly disfigured face. A statutory sex scene is thrown in for good measure. Ultimately, 300’s triumph stems from Frank Miller’s beautiful rendition in his comic series. It’s as if he knew that his graphic novels would be filmed some day and drew each panel for the silver screen. This is one flick that is theatre-worthy and well worth the price of a second entry ticket too.

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