REVIEW: Movie – 300…A love story

300 photoAs to be expected 300 deals in war, blood and political intrigue, but below the surface other linkages are revealed. While love may not have been on Frank Miller’s mind when he penned his graphic novel, themes of love are explored on many levels.

300 is a lush cinematic production which provides a grandiose feast for the eyes. The film’s texture is vivid to the point that it can almost be felt beneath the fingertips. The use of light and stylised imagery is stunning and truly captivating. Combined with some wonderfully dramatic and full-bodied performances from the cast which includes King Leonidas (Gerard Butler), Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey), and Dilios (David Wenham), it is the kind of movie you want to savour, not missing a single scene or a single moment.

So back to love…

Love of country. King Leonidas is raised to honour and respect the land of his birth. With ferocious intensity young Spartan men are taught to fight and strip away the layers until the core of the warrior within is revealed. If these challenges are survived, the young men are proven to be worthy defenders of a country which is more than just a place to live, it is a home. A home built on tradition, uncompromising passion and the sacrifices of those who have come before. No piece of ground or drop of water shall be offered to those who disrespect this history or the people who hold true to it.

Love of a woman. Queen Gorgo avoids the cringingly stereotypical and downright offensive characterisations of women in film, and instead she is portrayed as strong, powerful, intelligent and beautiful. Her beauty though comes from more than physical beauty, it comes from the way she carries herself and in the way that her inner strength and pride shine strongly through. In other words, she is the perfect partner and equal for King Leonidas. While not always conveyed with words, their love is one of deep feeling and is held together by something more meaningful than pure emotion.

Love of a brother. In this sense, brother refers to that bond between men in battle, father and son, or Queen and councillor. A love based on mutual respect and a shared goal. Being that the film centres around the Battle of Thermopylae this comradeship and unity become critical factors in the King’s efforts to win the war. There is also the unspoken love and admiration which exists between Captain Artemis and his son Astinos. While the battle is being fought, back in Sparta the Queen enlists help from a loyal Councillor and together they work towards a common cause, for love of country and love of King.

Love of freedom. This is the critical element which underpins the entire film. Without the desire to uphold the spirit and essence of what it means to be free, there would be no battle to fight. King Leonidas and his 300 show that some things are worth fighting for, even if all that can be achieved is a statement made in principle rather than the claiming of a definitive battle victory.

So there you have it. Just as love can appear under many guises in life, such realities have been keenly represented in the threads which weave together to create the rich tapestry that is 300.

9 Comments

  1. Marg

    Thank you so much for this wonderful review! It is one of the most intelligent ones I’ve read so far for 300. I have seen 300 9 times and this is exactly what I have seen in the movie. People who are condemning it just don’t get it. It definitely requires more than one viewing. Of course, it helps that King Leonidas is Gerard Butler!

    I love your style of writing…keep it up!

  2. PIslander

    Your review was the most insightful and unusual perspective of “300” I’ve read, including my own opinion.
    Thank you for expanding my thoughts about an eerie, beautiful, wondrous film.

  3. Arion

    What a wonderful perspective on the movie 300. You have seen what many others including a few “critics” have missed. Another love that shows through for me is the love of parent for child. While the training was unflinchingly rigorous, the deep abiding love and pride of Leonidas’ father for him and Leonidas for his own son makes the 300 Spartans want to fight to keep their sons and daughters free from tyranny.

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  5. jan

    A very insightful review on the power of love and the way it is reflected in this powerful movie. I have seen it twice–almost unheard of for me–and I am totally amazed at so many people who just don’t get it.

  6. The Artist

    Loved your review and it has inspired me to see the movie.

    A good review such as you have written can add an extra dimension to seeing a film.

  7. Tracey

    Hi Marg – Thanks for your kind words. I really, really enjoyed the movie and this theme of love just really stood out for me. It most definitely is a film to appreciate on many levels, but I think it is difficult to look beyond the ties of love. So you’ve seen 300 nine times now, that is pretty awesome – it is such a beautiful and completely absorbing movie that I could easily watch it on repeat viewings myself. Those people who are quick to dismiss movies, particularly action / animated / sourced from other media, always frustrate me. I think the better thing to do is to experience a movie and then judge for the piece of art that it it rather than jump to quick assumptions. As for the joys of Gerard Butler….well yes…I’m with you there…there is much to appreciate beyond his dramatic performance….thanks for dropping in!!

    Hi PIslander – You are too kind. I’m so glad that other people have seen the same messages and themes shining through…it really is a cinematic joy to behold. Much has been said about the surface view of 300 that I think we should delve a little deeper and look at what else is being said. Thanks so much!!

    Hi Arion – I’m glad you enjoyed it! 300 really does deserve more than a lot of the unwarranted criticism it is receiving…here’s hoping we can shift the balance a little more into the positive. As for the other love you identified, that between father and son – absolutely agree with you there. The sequence shown between Leonidas training with his young son was particularly touching. There really isn’t much more noble a cause then fighting for the freedom of your future generations. Thanks for passing through!

    Hi Jan – I’m very happy to hear how much you enjoyed the movie. It really has a different feel and different look to many other films currently doing the rounds. I think the advertising of it has focussed on the battle and the blood-letting and so people may not realise what else it has to offer. People are always a never ending source of frustration and never fail to baffle…as long as there are still a few people who ‘get it’ then I suppose that is all we can ask for.

    Hi The Artist – Lovely to see you here again. I just enjoyed 300 so much that I couldn’t help myself but write a little on it. Let me know what you think of the movie if you get around to seeing it…I’d be interested in your thoughts. 8)

  8. Navilyn

    In simple terms, I love this film! And can’t wait for it to come out on DVD…

  9. Tracey

    Hi Navilyn – I know exactly how you feel! 😉

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