The year 2000 was supposed to be our year in Hollywood. It was the year of Shekhar Kapur with his extraordinary Elizabeth, M. Night Shyamalan with his preternatural The Sixth Sense and Tarsem Singh with The Cell. The film, a race against time to find a twisted serial killer left the world gob-smacked thanks to the rich visual style. Starring Jennifer Lopez and Vince Vaughn, The Cell was awash with colours and extraordinary frames that invoked in equal part minimalism and the excess of Nasir Hussain films of the Sixties.
After six long years, Tarsem came up with the surreally stunning The Fall. And with Immortals he turns his exceptional eye on the sword-and-sandal saga and converts the gloriously gory proceedings on screen into high art. That is not to say, “Immortals” is no fun. The movie is beyond entertaining, the action suitably breathless, all the male leads flaunt lovely bodies in miniscule skirts and the lovely, doe-eyed Frieda Pinto looks good enough to eat.
And amid all this eye candy, you have these frames that grab your eye and keep it. Lofty peaks, deep dungeons, Olympian heights, swirling seas and high altars tumble off the screen in splendid succession.
Tarsem apparently described the film as Caravaggio meets The Fight Club, and he couldn't have said truer words! The frames are bathed in a golden light where the red of a cloak, a robe or blood from crushed skulls and bodies (believe me there is a lot of that too) make a vivid splash. The physicality of the subjects add dimension to the action. For once, the 3D doesn't feel out of place.
Immortals is a modern telling of the story of Theseus, the founder of ancient Athens. The famous battle with the minotaur is mind-blowing. While the story is old — the youngster of uncertain birth who challenges and defeats the tyrant, helped by a Yoda-like mentor, a thief for a sidekick and the mandatory beautiful maiden — the telling is thrillingly contemporary.
Cast-wise, Mickey Rourke seems to have had a full on party as the teeth-gnashing Hyperion, while John Hurt is all wise as Theseus's mentor, Zeus as an old man.
Henry Cavill is handsome and flaunts his six-pack as Theseus, while Stephen Dorff as Stavros, the sidekick has the nice lines. Freida Pinto is comely as Phaedra, the virgin oracle.
But the true star of the show, the engine powering the film is the visuals. Tarsem, who made his name with path-breaking commercials and music videos, takes the viewer back to the drawing board and enthrals us with heart-breakingly beautiful moving pictures.
Director: Tarsem Singh
Cast: Henry Cavill, Stephen Dorff, Luke Evans, Isabel Lucas, Kellan Lutz, Freida Pinto, Mickey Rourke
Storyline: In ancient Greece, Hyperion runs riot in the world and it is left to Theseus to stop him
Bottomline: The kinetic visuals make classical Greek myth uber cool
Keywords: Immortals film review