The Eagle - 114min – PG13
I am a sucker for good period pieces, I admit it. This movie brought me back to the feeling I had when I watched 13th Warrior or Braveheart. There is something about a movie that takes me back to a time and a place before technology that I really get into. This movie has a great cast and some wonderful settings. The attention to detail with the costumes and the sets was wonderful. I got lost in the time and place and was swept away with the movie. Hey I am a sword play geek what can I say? I know that some of you are imagining me with a case of Mountain Dew and a dice bag all geeking out over the film. Well you are wrong.
I don’t drink Mountain Dew.
The story centers on a young Roman Commander, Marcus Aquila (Channing Tatum), who is trying to regain his family’s honor. His father was a previous commander of the ninth was dishonored when he went missing with 5000 men of the 9th legion and also their emblem a golden eagle. The father’s expedition disappeared beyond Hadrian’s Wall in the northern part of Scotland. With the help of a Celtic slave, Esca (Jamie Bell), Marcus ventures north after rumors that the eagle was seen to be used by some northern tribe in their rituals. How painful is that? Not only are we going to kick your ass while wearing less armor than you, but we are going to take your precious emblem and use it in our religious rituals as well. They got PWND! Donald Sutherland plays Marus’s Uncle Aquila, a supportive father figure. Their dynamic is great for a glimpse into the Roman view of society and politics. I don’t know if this movie is historically accurate but it’s very fun to watch.
This movie examines the dynamic between master and slave as they travel across the landscape looking for this eagle. There is an underlying message of honor and what it means to each of the characters. We see the two move from master and slave to slave and master and then to friends. The movie also looks at the redemption of family honor as the son strives to wash away the sins of the father. Another subtext deals with redemption; they highlight the opportunities missed by the characters but making the right choice brings back honor and redemption in the end. I love these kinds of stories because we can learn so much from them. The choices you make dictate the life that you live, and it’s never to late to do the right thing.
Kevin Macdonald directed this movie superbly. He also brought us The Last King of Scotland and State of Play. His timing on this film works out to tell a story kind of on its own. The Eagle is a long story with many elements that get woven together well. Yes, I will be getting this one for when I am in the mood for olden days, swords and sorcery kind of a film festival at the house. The other films that I like are the post apocalyptic setting films. Tank girl, Waterworld, I know, I Know, but I still like it. This movie is not like the stylized 300 that is in the same setting, it has more of a real feel. On the other hand it’s not like Gladiator that is too real, its right in the middle of those styles.
This is a go see movie if you are looking for a historical story that has some excellent subtext. I would defiantly see this again in the theater. If any of my readers wanted to go.
Ok, I have shared my views, share yours. What types of movies do you like that other people don’t care for, but you don’t care because that movie speaks to you. Tell me about yours in the comments.