12 April 2011

The Eagle

This film is about a young Roman (Channing Tatum) who is stationed in Britain to look after a small settlement. After battling with the native tribe, he is injured and honourably discharged from the army as a result, since he will never fully recover. While Marcus (the Roman) recovers, he sees a fight to the death between a British slave (Jamie Bell) and a gladiator. The slave, Esca, is saved by him after being defeated when he makes the crowd shout for him to live. The slave then serves him out of debt and together they embark on a quest to find the Eagle: a golden statue held by a legion that was lost in the north.

This film made me very thoughtful. As a British inhabitant myself, it made me both proud and disgusted at my heritage. They valour and bravery of both the main characters was something that I appreciated, as well as the attention to detail. The British tribes, for example, had their own language that was separate from the roman language (this was English for the film). The costumes were also paid attention to, which made it much more realistic. It was interesting to see the original British tribes and how they contrasted with the regimented life of the Romans.

The tenuous friendship between the two characters is also something that really got to me. When travelling into Scotland through Hadrian's wall (which, by the way, was huge compared to how it really was/is) the relationship between them becomes confused. They are no longer a master and a slave, they are equal, sometimes tipping this balance completely the opposite way. Sometimes you wonder if they will betray each other in some way, and this adds some suspense to the film.

The actor who particularly stood out for me is Jamie Bell. He has come a rather long way from his all dancing role as Billy Elliott, and although he did appear in King Kong as the rather creepy cabin boy on the ship, his role in this film was so much more impressive. He gave the character many more dimensions than you would first think, and he has a mysteriousness that makes you question your perceptions of him. I really love this actor.

Channing Tatum was pretty good, but didn't give too much away about his stoic and quite aloof character. It was a little bit disappointing actually, though Jamie Bell more than made up for this. I would, however, like to mention an appearance from the ever more popular Mark Strong, known more for his role in the recent Sherlock Holmes film as Blackwood. He is a terrific actor, and I can't wait to see him in other films soon.

Like all other Roman or Greek films, there will always be one that it will be compared to, and that's Gladiator. But I think I'd like to be different and compare it more to other films in the action genre. As it goes as an action film, it is pretty good. The fight scenes are good and keep your interest, it has flashback and dreamlike sequences that make for a little bit of intrigue, and it has subplots that are easy to follow, as well as the main plot of finding the eagle.

All in all, I think this film deserves 7/10 stars.