The Eagle Movie Review

This beefy tale of male bonding is framed by a story loosely based on historical accounts from the 2nd century. The plot may be corny sentiment, but the movie is rousing entertainment, with two engaging leads.

In 140 AD, Marcus (Tatum) arrives in Britain, the far end of the Roman Empire, where he's charged with fending off local insurgents. But he has a secret agenda: to reclaim the golden eagle of the missing ninth legion, which was led by his father. As he recovers from a battle injury, his uncle (Sutherland) buys him feisty slave Esca (Bell). And then when they hear rumours about the eagle's whereabouts, Marcus and Esca set off to Caledonia to retrieve it. And when they meet a savage Seal prince (Rahim), Esca must become the master.

Unsurprisingly, Macdonald films the scenery (of Scotland and Hungary) spectacularly, with Anthony Dod Mantle's visceral camerawork positioning the characters against staggeringly beautiful landscapes. And while Brock's script is packed with speeches about honour and duty, it's the relationship between Marcus and Esca that grabs hold, perhaps because it's played with muscular gusto by Tatum and Bell as two men with daddy issues who essentially fall in love. The film could have been titled Brotherhood of the Skirt.

In this essentially female-free movie, it's all about manliness, with lots of glowering and physique flexing, plus a bit of wild overacting from time to time. Although any gay subtext is of course quickly averted by the next battle sequence or clunky plot element. There's an attempt to add some complexity to the Seals, Britons and Romans, as all are guilty of brutality, although the script carefully drops in something that lets us know who to root for in each scene.

As it goes along, questions about the nature of barbarism and the cruelty of conquest are sidelined for more Hollywood-style priorities like cool make-up and costumes, grisly violence (that pushes the PG-13 barrier), daring feats of bravery and loyalty, and surging emotional sappiness. But through all of this, it's the growing connection between these two men (and the superbly physical and resonant actors who play them) that makes the movie impossible to dislike.

Comments

The Eagle Rating

" OK "

Rating: 12, 2011

Advertisement

More Channing Tatum

Michael Strahan Announces Role In 'Magic Mike XXL'

The former NFL star-turned daytime TV co-host Michael Strahan is now set to embark on becoming a male stripper! The 42 year-old star recently announced...

Amber Heard In, Matthew McConaughey Out Of 'Magic Mike XXL'

Matthew McConaughey will not be reprising his role as strip club owner Dallas in the upcoming sequel to Magic Mike, Magic Mike XXL. The 2015...

Is Amber Heard Set To Join Channing Tatum For ‘Magic Mike XXL’?

Amber Heard has reportedly joined the cast of Magic Mike XXL, the sequel to Channing Tatum’s 2012 surprise stripper hit. Along with Heard, Jada Pinkett-Smith...

Matthew McConaughey Is Not in 'Magic Mike XXL'. But Andie MacDowell Is.

Matthew McConaughey will not reprise his role as strip-club owner Dallas in sequel Magic Mike XXL, according to director Greg Jacobs. Since his performance in...

Advertisement

'23 Jump Street' Is Happening, with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum

After two movies that have grossed over $500 million on an overall budget of around $100 million, it's no surprise to report that Sony Pictures...

Stunning 'Foxcatcher' Leaves Eerie Mark on Telluride Film Festival

Bennett Miller's intense drama Foxcatcher - which previously scored five-star review at the Cannes Film Festival - has stunned audiences at the Telluride Film Festival....

Telluride Film Festival: Bennett Miller Describes What Attracted Him To 'Foxcatcher' Project

Bennett Miller's soon-to-be-released film Foxcatcher has been shown at the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado and the director has discussed what aspects of the story...

'Foxcatcher' Leads Almost Went To Ryan Gosling and Bill Nighy

Foxcatcher, the psychological drama from the supremely talented Bennett Miller, is without doubt one of the most anticipated movies of the year and Sony has...

Advertisement