The Eagle (US-UK, 2011)

I AM a man

I enjoyed the first half hour of this as it portrayed a Roman outpost under seige from Brits… Though, it was a bit strange being ‘positioned’ by the film to sympathise with the Roman soldiers, especially when they efficiently dispatched my ancestors (though I’ve probably got Roman ancestors too). However…

This is a world without women (no female has dialogue) and the narrative drive is the protagonist’s search for the ‘eagle of the ninth’ to vindicate his father and find out if dad fought to the bitter end. I think I am desperately bored by Oedipal narratives. Channing Tatum takes lead, an actor whose neck appears to be thicker than his head, with no disguising his American accent; even Mark Strong has one! Jamie Bell, as Channing’s sidekick, does nothing with his role; but then there’s not a lot to do but look grim and fight.

This hysterically macho film concludes with a portentous burial of the dead who sacrificed themselves to bring a toy eagle back from Scotland (sorry if I spoiled it): possibly the best – unintentionally – anti war message ever filmed.

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