Thoughts on the Movie 300

Category: 300 News | Posted by: DaisyMay
Article Date: April 1, 2007 | Publication: Steve Roach & The Art of Law... | Author: Steve Roach
Publication/Article Link:The Art of Law

Last night my friend Dustin and I went to see the movie 300. What an awesome movie! Doctor Donny describes it as “artful fighting” and every shot is exciting, balanced, and beautiful. The people are beautiful, too! But, being a coin guy, I was excited about the numismatic connections! (Warning: Nerd Alert!!!)

I couldn’t help but project contemporary coin images on the characters in the movie. Gerald Butler (left), who plays the main character (also, he was the Phantom in the movie version of The Phantom of the Opera) looks RIGHT off contemporary Greek coins (like this silver piece from Naxos pictured right, 470 BC). Sparta didn’t really have “coins” as we know them. The movie’s depiction of stamped gold bars is a closer representation of what they traded with. Surprisingly, nothing of late has gotten me so excited about collecting coins because even though the movie is a completely artificial experience, Greek and Persian coins contemporary to the events depicted in the movie are something real.

The filmmakers made a more attractive version of battle than French artist Jacques-Louis David did in his 1814 painting of the Battle of Thermopyale. (As a sidenote, it was painted just 3 years earlier than one of my favorite paintings ever, the beautiful/vulgar Cupid and Psyche in Cleveland). It makes sense that the base of the movie was a graphic novel, because the shots are composed like photographs.

The movie made me think about what it would be like to have a vision and a purpose guiding and defining my life like the Spartan warriors had. To believe in something so strongly that it would be an honor to die for it. Dustin related it to his grandfather who fought in WWI, but I couldn’t find any parallels in my own experience. Modern life provides plenty of distractions and multi-tasking seems to reward a person who has multiple purposes and functions, so perhaps this kind of dedication is inconsistent with today. I was left thinking about if I distilled my life to several basic core functions, what would be left and what would be cut. An interesting exercise, indeed.

A movie like 300 doesn’t come around very often and certainly no movie of the last few years has resonated so strongly with me. Go see it!