Monday, December 27, 2010

Agora - DVD Review


Starring Rachel Weisz, Max Minghella, Oscar Isaac, Rupert Evans and Michael Lonsdale.
Directed by Alejandro Amenabar.

Usually when we get Roman Empire movies, the Christians are the good guys, and then a few centuries later when the Catholic Church grows in power, the Christians are the bad guys. This movie takes place right about in that period of time where the balance of power shifts, where the underdogs/martyrs get control and a little revenge. It's interesting and a little daring, and it revolves around the destruction of the Library of Alexandria in 391 AD.

The Romans still rule, and the Christians have been increasing in power, but the Roman pagans/atheists/ Jupiter-worshippers still think they can push them around. When they draw some swords to put them in their places, they get a rude awakening of just how many Christians there are, and how they're done turning cheeks.

In the middle of this conflict is Hypathia (Rachel Weisz), an atheist who doesn't really care about religion, she cares about science. She's on the cusp of larger discoveries, but what incalculable knowledge was lost when the Library burned. The movie's chief argument seems to be that if Christianity hadn't come along, the world's scientific knowledge would be about 1000 years ahead of where it is now.

This is not done in a preachy or condescending manner. The movie does well with its low budget, and it feels similar to the swords-and-sandals epics of the 1960's, those ones that also could have several slow spots.

No comments: