Rated R for graphic battle sequences throughout, some sexuality and nudity.
Directed By: Zack Snyder
Written By: Zack Snyder and Kurt Johnstad
Based On The Graphic Novel By: Frank Miller
Staring: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, David Wenham, Dominic West, Michael Fassbender, Vincent Regan, Tom Wisdom, Andrew Pleavin, Andrew Tiernan, and Rodrigo Santoro as Xerxes
You have many slaves, Xerxes, but few warriors. It won’t be long before they fear my spears more than your whips. -King Leonidas
300 was one of the most hyped up movies of 2006 and did very well at the box office, but what was it about? The basic plot line starts with King Leonidas, the ruler of Greece. When he is challenged by Xerxes, King of Persia and the largest army of it’s time, he responds with venom and challenges Xerxes with his Spartans. After seeking support from the Oracle and his Senate, Leonidas is denied due to it’s corruption, even though Persia’s army is en route to take over Greece and make slaves of it’s people. A true Spartan, he takes matters into his own hands and claims to be taking his own personal guard “on a walk”. In reality he is leading his men to meet Xerxes and his slave army at the pass of Thermopylae, with the hopes to stop them.
I heard rumors that the movie was supposed to be based solely on fact, and it’s obviously filled with inaccuracies, but within the first five minutes of the movie you can see it is not supposed to be a historically conceived movie, it is something completely unconventional and fresh as it feeds off it’s visuals and soundtrack.
The cinematography in this film is groundbreaking, and quite possibly the most amazing visual effects I have ever seen on film. It was beautiful, gritty, and seemed to make the screen itself come alive. Visually it stimulated you, but also it’s nonchalant brutality separates it from other films in this genre in a way that really does make it an original film. In the mix of the unapologetic violence there is an excellent mix of humor and otherwise entertainment. 300 doesn’t try and make all of it’s action a reflection of realism but rather a fictional interpretation of that realism, and it doesn’t try to capture that realistic violent perspective other films often do. It let itself wallow in it’s brutality with a smile on it’s face, but still managed to emote more than a superficial front. 300 and it’s horrific battle is one in a million.
The plot and story alone aren’t what carries the film, and it almost isn’t necessary. The dialogue is quick, to the point and continues to demonstrate what we are already seeing and hearing musically. The holes in the plot line didn’t bother me. I didn’t feel like this was trying to do what Gladiator did, and instead it took on a life completely of it’s own. The relationship between the king and queen was only touched on briefly and yet there was no question about the bond or the loyalty to each other and their country. The twists, the violence, the betrayals, and the bond of those so loyal to their king and country were all thoroughly entertaining and those that weren’t so loyal created a very tense conflict. This particular interchange sums up the intensity of the entire film while also capturing the essence of the Spartan mentality:
Messenger: What makes this woman think she can speak among men?
Queen Gorgo: Because only Spartan women give birth to real men.
It was lines like this mixed with an awesome soundtrack, beautiful visuals that made 300. Simply, it was just cool. The theme of the underdog out there fighting for their freedom never gets old. And this film never will to me either. It’s one of those movies that the more I watch it, the more I enjoy it.