Saturday, April 16, 2011
I'd heard bad things about this film, so I wasn't expecting brilliance. I set about watching it with only half an eye, Rome not being my current genre of favour, but I was hooked pretty early on. I thought the leading actor, Channing Tatum was much better than his reputation had led me to believe, and he filled out his role with an understated believability.
The story is simple enough, Tatum plays a Roman officer named Marcus Flavius Aquila who is driven by the urge to restore his family's honour after his father's command, Legio XI, was annihalted in a failed attempt to annex land in Caledonia. The lost legion's honour is symbolised in its Eagle standard, and when he hears rumours that the Eagle is held by a northern tribe, Aquila risks everything to travel north of the border with his personal slave to recover it.
Of course, nothing is straight forward, and there are a few twists along the way, but essentially this story, whilst taking a few liberties with the history of Legio XI, stays true to itself and keeps pretty much within what I'd say was the essence of Roman culture. There are few panderings to modern sensibilities and I thought the whole thing was as historically accurate as its possible to make a motion picture whilst still allowing for artistic license.