Following on from the success of Sin City, comic book writer Frank Miller has created a stylish look with this brutal and violent movie. Based on his graphic novel, 300 focuses on the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C.
Spartan King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and 300 of the finest warriors are led to an epic battle against the advancing Persians. This struggle is said to have inspired all of Greece to band together against the Persians, and helped usher in the world’s first democracy.
The fighting sequences in 300 are truly breathtaking with strong uses of gore and slow motion. Director Zack Snyder (whose previous work includes a remake of the cult horror classic Dawn Of The Dead) has done a spectacular job in creating a visual masterpiece that seems to be lifted straight off Miller’s comic book. The heavy use of blood splatter and CGI may seem over-the-top, but the end result works well.
Even though the dialogue consists of much shouting including the well-known phrase that is “Madness? THIS IS SPARTA!” the action is the true star in this two-hour film. And it delivers with fancy editing that puts the viewer right into the heart of the battle.
As for Gerard Butler playing the lead role, his presence on the screen is immensely powerful. You could feel the fire burning inside of him, with the sadness, inner struggles, but also the dignity and the kindness of the King.
300 is a movie that integrates the potentials of film-making and story-telling in a wonderful new way that is the best of both entertainment and artistic achievement.