When bad movies happen to good directors: this sums up Kevin Macdonald’s The Eagle, who — after more than solid outings with The Last King of Scotland and State of Play — has ultimately lost the battle between himself and a movie that’s simply dumb and stuffy. The Eagle’s existence as a one-note swords-and-sandals (and mud) epic with only the idea of “honor” to expound upon reel after reel doesn’t help. Neither does Channing Tatum as an ancient Roman, who plays the role with the regality of a man with excellent enunciation and all the charisma of a wet sock. Then there’s the story, which finds Tatum as Marcus, an uber-heroic Roman who’s jaunted off to Britain in an attempt to restore the honor of his family by recovering a gold eagle that his father lost years ago. While this eagle may appear to be a tacky lawn ornament, it is in fact a symbol of all of Rome’s honor and accomplishment. Aided by his British slave Esca (Jamie Bell), who may or may not be trusted, Marcus takes off for the wastes of northern England to find out both the truth about their titular McGuffin and the fate of Marcus’ father. Along the way, they fall into various adventures and run into Mark Strong wearing Nicolas Cage’s best wig, but the real point of the film is to espouse the virtues and meaning of honor in the most macho ways imaginable. It’s difficult for me not to see this type of ultra-masculine breast-beating as specious and not as significant or profound as Macdonald would like, especially when the end result is a lot of death and murder (including of children) for an idea whose worth is never proven and a prize that amounts to a really gaudy paperweight.
Official Site: www.FindTheEagle.com
Director: Kevin Macdonald
Writer: Rosemary Sutcliff and Jeremy Brock
Cast: Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Mark Strong, Donald Sutherland and Tahar Rahim
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