300 (15)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner21/03/2007

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 117 mins

This is a gorgeously designed, impressively directed and action-packed swords-and-sandals flick, even if the fascist overtones and the shouting gets a bit much after a while.

What's it all about?
Directed by Zack Snyder (Dawn of the Dead) and based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller, 300 stars Gerard Butler as Sparta's musclebound King Leonidas, who rejects a treaty with the Persian King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) that would effectively enslave the Spartans. Undeterred by the Persians' million-strong army, Leonidas decides to take them all on at the cliffs of Thermopylae, with only 300 of his fiercest warriors.

Meanwhile, back at home Leonidas' wife Gorgo (Lena Heady) has her own problems to deal with in the form of her husband's sleazy political opponent, Theron (Dominic West).

The Good
Using a similar process to Sin City (also based on a Miller graphic novel), 300 looks amazing throughout with stunning, visceral battle sequences and impressive visual effects that precisely mirror Miller's original blood-soaked panels. The character designs are impressive too (particularly the astonishing War Rhino), although it's a little uncomfortable that Miller chose to make the Persians quite so grotesque.

Gerard Butler makes an impressive lead, even though he spends the entire movie channelling Brian Blessed, with the result that there is an awful lot of shouting.

The Bad
Sadly, the film lacks the sense of humour that might have made it something of a camp classic, although there is an amusing moment where a character shrugs off the loss of an eye and the fact that their armour appears to consist of a cape and pants is sure to raise a giggle or two.

That said, for all its scenes of political wrangling there's no real depth to the film and the fascist overtones begin to grate after a while.

Worth seeing?
Dodgy political allegories aside, when it comes down to it 300 is basically two hours of shouting and gloriously designed CGI death. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Film Trailer

300 (15)
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Content updated: 21/07/2018 20:30

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