December 10, 2013
For our 300th post, we asked Carl Beech to tell us just why he loves the epic testosterone-fuelled film 300…
There’s no doubt that there were some epic moments among the tragedy of the slaughter.
In a famous exchange captured in the 2006 film 300, the historian Herodotus said this of one of the reputedly bravest warriors called Dienekes.
“He was told by a native of Trachis that the Persian archers were so numerous that their arrows would block out the sun. Dienekes, however, undaunted by this prospect, remarked with a laugh: ‘Good. Then we will fight in the shade.’”
Of course, for all you history geeks out there, the historical version differs a bit from the film but it’s true they held the line, true they all died and true that they enabled the Greek armies to overcome and win the fight.
As a film, 300 rocked the world. It’s still the 24th highest-grossing film for an opening weekend, having taken more than £456 million and has a cult following to this day.
Interestingly the film is said to be popular with men and women, particularly because it has a strong female and male lead. There’s no denying it though that many men love the film and the story. I’m one of them.
Yes there’s glorified and over-stylised violence and I’m sure it says something about our culture that violent films do so well at the box office, but I confess that the film just gripped me. Why? Because it’s a band of brothers fighting against the odds who have each other’s backs. There’s unswerving loyalty to each other and to a cause. There’s pride in who they are and the nation they represent. They refuse to quit and stay upbeat even in the face of certain death. They are well-trained, drilled and motivated. I can’t explain why, but all this, and the sense of heroic struggle, deeply appeals to me.
Perhaps it’s because I’m a throwback dinosaur of a man (I can picture the nodding heads) or perhaps it’s because something deep within me wants to fight for a noble cause and get into a scrap. I think it’s probably something to do with my testosterone levels. Society wants me to be tame and so does the Church – or at least that’s what it tends to communicate.
My role model however isn’t King Leonidas, the Spartan warrior, or a gentile parish vicar; it’s Jesus, and in the words of C S Lewis: “Aslan is not a tame lion.”
This blog was first published here…
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