300 (2006)

dir. Zack Snyder

Few people can do testosterone-fuelled nonsensical violence like Zack Snyder. 300, his very loose retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC, is filled with all the classic Snyder tropes. Unnecessarily saturated colour! Going slow-motion then fast-motion then slow-motion again! Men yelling about blood and honour! A single woman given a shred of character at all, and even then she’s mostly a vacuous waste of space! A moral system based on ugly people being bad and attractive people being good! General pervasive racist and xenophobic tones throughout! 300 is so bad that its obvious ambition and near-imposing scale don’t do much to excuse its existence. It’s a shame so many otherwise talented people were involved – 300 shot Gerard Butler and Lena Headey to A-list prominence, but also features the likes of Dominic West, Rodrigo Santoro, David Wenham, and even the film debut of Michael friggin’ Fassbender. All this potential talent, squandered on a film so utterly devoid of substance it’s a wonder it didn’t float up into the heavens – but that is quite clearly where Snyder believes this purported masterpiece belongs.

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