Agora, Alejandro Amenabar's absorbing historical drama, proves that, in an era of movies made for iPhones with artistic ambitions to match, there are still filmmakers willing to swing for the fences.
It's still more than watchable thanks to the ministrations of a talented director, Spain's Alejandro Amenabar, but the togas seem to have brought out the stiff, declamatory earnestness in everyone.
To its credit, the film calls out Christianity's ignominious imperialism and locates a valid historical analogue to the religious extremism of today. Yet good intentions shan't save Amenbar from his own ham-fisted methods.
With fire in her eyes and the riddle of the solar system in her brain, Weisz struggles in fleshing out a historical character well worth a movie, though frustratingly sketchy as written here.
There are a few exciting battle sequences and the sets are lavish, but mostly the film meanders aimlessly for more than two hours. No wonder new sword-and-sandal movies are in short supply.
The biggest problem is that Gil and Amenabar haven't been able to make the script hold together and there are times, especially with the love triangle, when things veer into the cheesy.