As 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.