'300' uses blood and battle to create an escape from worry
In 300, Gerard Butler plays King Leonidas who defies the corrupt oracle and takes 300 of his best Spartan soldiers to fight against Xerxes innumerable horde of Asian beasts and man monsters from the entire known world. His 300 Spartans are clearly up to the task because they have been raised in brutality and blood. They are soldiers and have no other occupation.
Lena Heady plays Queen Gorgo, left at home, she is clearly her husband’s equal in every way except for the power that she yields in Spartan society. She can backtalk the messenger of Xerxes, but her words would fall on the deaf ears of men in her own nation.
Dominic West plays the corrupt Theron, who makes a bargain with the queen, which ends with her raping her in a sort of consensual way and then betraying her in the council session where he brags of his conquest while shaming her for her acquiescence.
The movie’s biggest flaw comes in its attempt to be like an epic poem of Ancient Greece. The narrator is more than annoying and makes commentary at inappropriate times, as if the audience wouldn’t understand the action without him.
If you need a narrator to get your point across, maybe you should rewrite the script – film is a visual medium with a ton of tricks to get the point across without a narrator to condescend to the public.
Another flaw is its sudden but inevitable betrayal from two different players. While the wife is betrayed at home, so too is the husband at war. It might have been done for symmetry, but it just comes across as trite.
This is a film full of bravado and testosterone, even the queen is a warrior though she does fall victim to the patriarchal structure of the Spartan society.
300 is predictable, bloody, has some nudity in it, and it provides an escapist fantasy that isn’t entirely unpleasant as long as you are in that kind of mood. The blood isn’t so gory as to be a turnoff, which makes the film a passable distraction from the cares of the day.