In Review: 300: Rise Of An Empire

by Martyn Conterio on 06/03/2014


With its Parthenon Marbles frieze-style compositions rendered in blue and grey hues and an unequalled fetishised attention to bloodlust, 300: Rise of an Empire is a fascist text playing dumb as to the meaning of both the imagery it revels in and the fiery, war-worshipping dialogue the actors spit out in the style of a regional am-dram society production.

This Zack Snyder-sponsored drivel comes once more, with feeling from the pen of Frank Miller. Less a sequel and more a sidequel (the first and second act take place during the Battle of Thermopylae), 300: Rise of an Empire is pumped up to the max with lines exclaiming the virtues of blood, dying for your homeland without question and the ‘ecstasy of steel and flesh’.

The obsessive attention to the red stuff is more than a demented USP (unique selling point). Splattered around like it’s flying off of Jackson Pollock paintbrush, the film highlights time and time again – in slow motion – how glorious blood looks glistening on ripped torsos. Watch in awe as the digitised claret drips down off of mighty swords! It’s pornographic, anti-human barbarism. In fact, the only way it could have been more fascistic is if Leni Riefenstahl had directed from a script by Julius Streicher, with production design by Albert Speer. How can so many people – cast and crew (bar Miller) – be so blind to such weirdo trash masquerading as ‘entertainment’?

The film centres exclusively on Xerxes’ lady general, Artemisia (Eva Green), leading an assault against the collective Greek navy led by Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton), while the god-king busies himself wiping out those hard-nut Spartans and conquering Greece. The switching from land to sea, however, makes for dull repetition rather than sense of fresh momentum.

Green’s role as the warrior princess is enjoyably hammy, to a point. Yet for all the girl power-isms on show, they lack any real depth and there’s some deeply suspect sexual politics at work. But, like, females are totally empowered and awesome: Here comes Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) with a big sword to carve up more Persians!

Martyn has awarded 300: Rise Of An Empire one Torch of Truth


Still image courtesy of Thinkjam/Warner Bros.

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