Film & TV

Eva Green Emboldens 300: Rise of an Empire

Man, woman, gay, straight, bi: There's something for everyone in 300: Rise of an Empire, the XXL sequel to the also-larger-than-life Greeks-in-shinguards extravaganza 300. In that picture, directed by Zack Snyder and based on Frank Miller's graphic novel about the three-day Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C., the Spartans and their small but mighty army kicked the asses of the Persians, with much yelling, grunting, and spilling of black-red CGI blood. 300: Rise of an Empire might have been essentially more of the same, but for one distinction that makes it 300 times better than its predecessor: Mere mortals of Athens, Sparta, and every city from Mumbai to Minneapolis, behold the magnificent Eva Green and tremble! This time around, Athenian warrior Themistocles, gentle-spirited but tough as a lion's claw, is the star — he's played by Sullivan Stapleton, who musters at least a few whiskers' worth of authority. But really, who's looking at him? Green's Artemisia is something to behold. She makes her entrance in a fringed leather gown with a molded breastplate, sweeping into the Persian palace like a B.C. Morticia Addams. Her over-the-topness — and, in one scene, her resplendent toplessness — really gets Rise of an Empire cooking. Artemisia commands her naval warriors as if she were telling them what to do in bed: "Today we will dance across the backs of dead Greeks," she purrs, pronouncing the word "dance" as "dahnse" — because that's what an all-powerful enchantress would do. When she lowers her kohl-rimmed eyes, the sailors hear, and they obey. They'll kill for her, and they'll die for her. Green makes it all look like dahnsing.
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Stephanie Zacharek was the principal film critic at the Village Voice from 2013 to 2015. She is a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and of the National Society of Film Critics. In 2015 Zacharek was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism.

Her work also appeared in the publications of the Voice’s film partner, Voice Media Group: LA Weekly, Denver Westword, Phoenix New Times, Miami New Times, Broward-Palm Beach New Times, Houston Press, Dallas Observer and OC Weekly.