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  • 15
  • Action, Adventure
  • 2011


Film4 Immortals


For his third feature, Tarsem Singh Dhandwar delivers a stylised postmodern Theseid, both epic and odd - in 3D where available.

Critic's Review

No matter what else might be said of Immortals, its exquisitely strange beauty, realised by Tarsem Singh Dhandwar and his pantheon of costume and set designers, CG technicians and stereoscopic retrofitters, is sheer aesthetic overdrive, bringing ancient myths made cinematically familiar by the likes of Troy, Clash of the Titans and 300 right back to life in a richly idiosyncratic 3D spectacle.

This merging of old and new is embodied by the film's divine protagonist, Zeus, who comes with two identities, the lustrous youth of his immortal form (incarnated by Luke Evans) contrasting with the decrepit human guise (John Hurt, narrating as though this were an episode of TV's Merlin) in which he gives Yoda-like instruction to Theseus (Henry Cavill). Zeus hopes that this faithless peasant will freely choose to lead the Greeks against King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke), a scarred psychopath who plans to unleash the deicidal Titans from their subterranean prison using the macguffin-esque Epirus Bow.

Phaedra (Freida Pinto) is a Sybelline [sic] oracle, Hyperion and the Minotaur are merely masked humans, Theseus never gets to become the legendary king of Athens (but does embrace his anachronistic credentials as a cross-bearing, self-sacrificing, kick-ass Christ), and gods are killed – and so this film proves no less iconoclastic than Hyperion himself, playing havoc with the mythological tradition. In this respect, however, it is no different from the classical versions of myth, which were as many as they were varied. It is not gods nor Titans nor heroes who are immortal here, but storytelling itself, which comes in many forms but never truly dies.

For in Immortals, Theseus' shifting legend is told not only in the statues, panels and reliefs that its characters admire, but also through state-of-the-art moving images - and it can accommodate modern themes within its ancient frame, so that the Titans' Tartarean hellhole evokes Guantanamo Bay, the bow is a Weapon of Mass Destruction, Hyperion's fanatical Heraklion forces resemble Jihadis, and yesteryear's reduced and beleaguered Greece reflects 2011's...

In a nutshell: Though thin, Tarsem's tale echoes down the ages and all the inevitable epic ass-whupping is exoticised by a spectacularly mannered visual aesthetic.

By Anton Bitel

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Stephen Dorff, John Hurt, Freida Pinto, Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke
  • Director: Tarsem Singh
  • Producer: Mark Canton, Ryan Kavanagh, Gianni Nunnari

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