The Eagle (Unrated Edition) [Blu-ray]
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In 2nd-Century Britain, celebrated Roman soldier Marcus Aquila (Channing Tatum) embarks on a dangerous quest to restore the tarnished reputation of his father and find the golden emblem that disappeared with him and thousands of troops twenty years earlier. But the highlands of Caledonia are a savage wilderness, and Marcus must rely on his embittered slave, Esca (Jamie Bell), to navigate the perilous region. Their journey pushes them beyond the boundaries of loyalty and betrayal, friendship and hatred, deceit and heroism. Donald Sutherland co-stars in this gripping, gritty, action-packed adventure from acclaimed director Kevin Macdonald.
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Channing Tatum does a respectable job of acting in the film as does Jamie Bell. Channing Tatum, as Marcus Flavius Aquila, is the son of the commanding officer of the Ninth Legion who crossed Hadrian's Wall and entered the depths of wild Caledonia. Aquila shows considerable leadership skills and bravery, is given honors and an honorable discharge, but then decides to stay in Britain to solve the mystery of the missing legion and the fate of his father, whose reputation has been disgraced by the disappearance of a full legion of men. The film is also about the relationship between Centurion Aquila and his Celtic slave, Esca, played by Jaime Bell. Together they cross Hadrian's wall and enter the wilderness north of the Roman territories.
The film is successful because it is not overly ambitious. There is a story to tell, characters to be developed, and this it does with realistic depictions of hand to hand warfare and the dirty living conditions of life at this time. Neither the Romans nor Celts are depicted as evil, just men in conflict with men, occupiers against the occupied.
Donald Sutherland plays the uncle of Aquila with wit and humor. The striking Tahar Rahim plays the son of the tribal chief of the Seal People who play a major role in the issue of whether the Roman Ninth Legion regains its honor.
I found this film to be good solid entertainment about a fascinating time in British history.
In the book, Esca and Marcus have a deep friendship defined by mutual respect and abiding love for one another. Marcus calls Esca "Brother" often. It is this relationship that makes their quest to find the Eagle possible, the trust and willingness to sacrifice for each other were necessary for their survival. The relationship is important also because it defines both men, showing us that they were able to go outside of traditional mores of their time and live consistently with what they believed to be true. They should have been enemies, but both saw the other as men, as human beings separate from their political culture and circumstances. Their friendship is how we know they were great men- honorable, self sacrificing, loving, with true integrity not shaped by any outside influences. It is the foundation of the story.
In the movie that relationship is wholly changed. There is bitterness, selfishness, and deceit between them. Because that relationship is so changed it in turn changes the men. They are not Marcus and Esca. The movie should have told its own story and not changed the heart of Sutcliffe's masterful telling of not only the tale of the quest for the Eagle, but a tale of friendship, devotion, honor, and love. On its own merit the movie could have earned 4 stars for outstanding casting, excellent sets, and an action packed adventure. Instead they twisted a beautiful moral tale into something it wasn't.
Sadly, I haven't seen it on T.V. lately so I ordered it for future viewing,
Since then, I have shared it with friends. It is a great drama, depicting mighty Rome
and one of its officers in particular. His father was a Commander in the Roman legion, who
sadly loss the symbol of Rome, the golden eagle. His son join the legion and tries to restore
his family's honor.
Along the way, an injury seems to put a stop to his plans. Healing from his wounds, he has
mercy on a slave who will not fight with a gladiator in the arena. From there, a great adventure
Have a movie night, sit back & enjoy the journey of a soldier & a slave who are bound
by friendship & survival. Enjoy.
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