I really want to like Tarsem Singh’s Immortals. I freely concede that his film is certainly over-the-top, overwrought, and hyper-stylized enough for my tastes. Yet there’s something missing beneath all of its slick grandeur. Normally, when films I like fall into the category of the uber-ostentatious like Immortals does, there’s a sense of playfulness at hand. The problem with it is that there’s little fun being had here. Singh approaches Immortals’ Greek mythology like a horror movie, feeling like a mix of 300 and Christophe Gans’ Silent Hill, sans the latter’s atmosphere and with the former’s unfortunate machismo. Despite the elegance of its movements, Immortals is often ugly and frequently grotesque, and I can’t shake the feeling that Singh is making this movie to impress the world with its gory badassness. By modernizing the tale of Theseus, mixing grittiness with a pomp that’s all costume designed to hell, we get a movie that’s too silly to be taken seriously but too straight-faced to have any charm. When Immortals breaks out into fountains of blood, there’s a certain amusement in its own spectacle because these acts are so surprisingly over-the-top. But as it continues, over and over, the violence becomes overwhelming, nasty, or — worse — goofy. Unlike Singh’s last film The Fall, there’s no heart to the story, so behind the exquisite nature of Immortals’ bloodshed and visual style, there’s only the sound and fury of a Michael Bay leftover. It’s an exhausting film with little on its mind and the sole purpose of trying to dazzle you. And that’s a pity, because while I admire Singh’s sense of theatricality and marvel at his spurts of genuinely brilliant filmmaking, I’m still left with movie that is completely shallow and unseemly.
Director: Tarsem Singh
Writer: Charley Parlapanides and Vlas Parlapanides
Producer: Gianni Nunnari, Mark Canton and Ryan Kavanaugh
Cast: Henry Cavill, Kellan Lutz, Mickey Rourke, John Hurt, Freida Pinto, Isabel Lucas, Stephen Dorff, Luke Evans, Joseph Morgan and Robert Maillet