Review: 300 (2006)

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300 (2006)

Directed by: Zack Snyder | 117 minutes | action, war, adventure | Actors: Gerard Butler, Lena Heady, Dominic West, David Wenham, Vincent Regan, Michael Fassbender, Rodrigo Santoro, Andrew Tiernan, Andrew Pleavin, Tyrone Benskin, Marcello Bezina, Clint Carleton, Richard Cetrone, Isabelle Champeau, Tim Connolly, Moe Fawaz, Jere Gillis, Marcel Jeannin, Greg Kramer, Mercedes Leggett, David Leitch, Robert Maillet, Neil Napier, Tyler Max Neitzel, Deke Richards, Marie-Julie Rivest, Ilan Rosenberg, Patrick Sabongui, Dylan Smith, Denniis St John, Maurizio Terrazzano, Marc Trottier, Ryan Watson, Tom Wisdom

The Spartans; brutal, muscular and fearless. With only 300 men, they once went into battle with the huge Persian army. This heroic chapter of Greek history inspired Frank Miller (‘Sin City’) to create the comic book ‘300′. It’s up to director Zack Snyder (“Land of the Dead”) to bring the drawings to life. Result: gasping for breath on the edge of your seat for two hours. The future King Leonidas is taken from his mother at the age of seven. A tough training camp awaits him that should prepare him for his future. His mother knows that there is a chance that the boy may not return alive. In order to become King of the Spartans, he must prove that he is not only strong, but also intelligent and courageous. After years of training, his final test follows. Barefoot in the snow, the boy takes on a giant wolf. After killing them, he returns to Sparta as King.

Twenty years after his victory over the beast, a new danger presents itself. This time not in the form of a beast, but in that of an army of one million men. While Leonidas is preparing his own son for his training camp, he is visited by a Persian messenger. This one brings him the message; kneel before the true King of the world or die. However, the Spartan King will not succumb to the pressure of such threats. He kills the messengers and thus the war with the great Persian empire, which at that time covered a large part of the world, is a fact. As is tradition in the history of the Spartans, before going into battle with his men, the king must ask permission from the priests of the Gods, the Ephors. The deformed creatures tell him that it is not allowed to fight during the festival of the full moon. Because the Persian army is already advancing by sea, the King decides to select his 300 best warriors and still travel to meet the Persians. The action scenes that follow are both gory and bizarre. The Spartans are attacked by the most diverse opponents from all corners of the world. Elephants, deformed creatures with silver masks and the human Persian slaves.

The film is incredibly brutal. To give an example: when Leonidas and his men arrive at a village that had been set on fire by the Persians, they make a terrible discovery. The dead bodies of the inhabitants of the town have been turned into a real tree-shaped work of art by the murderers. The work of the dark forces of the Persian army, the men say. It must be said that Frank Miller left his mark on the film due to the many deformed and strange creatures in the production. It brings the desired gruesome atmosphere, but it certainly does not contribute to the realism of the story. Despite the fact that the film was largely shot for green screen and the filming was already completed after 60 days, everything looks neat down to the last detail. The fight scenes are beautifully portrayed and you fully empathize with the blows that are dealt. Varied use is made of slowing down certain shots, with dramatic effect. Blood splatters profusely and here and there a limb flies by. Yet director Snyder never goes so far that you tend to look away. Gerard Butler (“Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life”) is particularly strong in the role of King Leonidas. His deep voice and impressive body make him a real Spartan not only in appearance. He also knows how to play the courage and intelligence that come with his character. Rodrigo Santoro (“Lost”), his rival, is almost unrecognizable as the evil Persian King Xerxes.

All in all, ‘300′ has become a very successful comic book adaptation that is also easy to handle for people who normally don’t like gory films.

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