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300: Rise of an Empire

A sequel to the most homoerotic mass-market action film since Batman and Robin, Rise of an Empire lacks the directorial hand of Zack Snyder, though it’s hard to imagine who might care. (Snyder, who scripted and produced, hired Israeli commercial director Noam Murro to do the rest.) Looking at essentially the same war from a different perspective (the sea battles), it’s every bit as over-the-top as its predecessor in terms of visuals. Bodies by the hundreds burst apart like blood-filled water balloons at the touch of a heroic sword, this time splattering the camera lens in 3D so you can enjoy every drop.


If I were to call this new drama, an Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, a classic example of film noir, you would probably get the wrong idea. It doesn’t feature any of the expected visual tropes of that genre, like black-and-white cinematography or looming shadows or claustrophobic sets (though there are a few foot chases that make excellent use of tight spaces).

The Wait

“I know this doesn’t make sense, but just hold tight,” says a mysterious voice on the telephone near the beginning of The Wait. It’s tempting to read that as advice to the viewers, who will find themselves struggling to follow the dream-like logic of this independent film. If you do, note that the voice does not promise that all will be revealed.

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