Kevin Macdonald steps into Old World Britain for his latest film The Eagle, which stars Channing Tatum in his first real period piece. Tatum with an accent is a big deal. The actor plays a young Roman general who’s on a quest to restore honor to his family’s name after a horrific event that occurred decades earlier under his father’s leadership.

The Players:

  • Director: Kevin Macdonald
  • Screenwriters: Jeremy Brock, Rosemary Sutcliff (book)
  • Cast: Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Donald Sutherland, Tahar Rahim, Denis O’Hare
  • Cinematography By: Anthony Dod Mantle
  • Original Music By: Atli Örvarsson

The Plot:

The film is based on the book The Eagle of the Ninth, which was written by Rosemary Sutcliff and takes us into the dangerous world of second-century Britain. The premise of the film centers on a Roman officer, Marcus Flavius Aquila (Tatum), as he tries to discover the truth about the disappearance of his father’s ninth legion in Northern Britain.

The Good:

  • The Action: Kevin Macdonald did a great job of shooting the action in this film. In a lot of war movies, especially ones with sand and swords,  it’s hard to see what’s happening in battle. Everything looks like a big cluster of metal and flesh. In The Eagle, everything is very clear and straight to the point.
  • Cinematography: This goes along with the direction, but the cinematography was stunning. Not only did the camera get into the nooks and crannies of the fight scenes, but it also highlighted the beautiful landscape of the country side.

The So-So:

  • Channing Tatum: Not great but not horrible either. Tatum isn’t known for his amazing acting skills but he pulled of a surprisingly mediocre performance, which for him is a step up. Get it, Step Up?

The Bad:

  • The Accents: In a recent interview, Tatum claimed that Macdonald made a conscious decision to have the Roman soldiers speak with American accents. Tatum initially fought against the idea but in the end, felt that it was the right decision. Unfortunately, I disagree. Romans with American accents is 10 times more annoying than Romans with British accents. During the time that this film takes place the New World hadn’t even been discovered.
  • Roman Soldiers: Speaking of the soldiers, they were terribly cast. There’s nothing wrong with the actor’s talent but none of them physically looked the part. They were all small and middle aged men. I’m not saying they should look like the cast of 300 but they shouldn’t look like stray cats either.


The Eagle isn’t an epic Roman war film and it doesn’t try to be. It has some problems but if you’re into movies that add fantastical elements to historical events, you’ll like it.

Rating: 7/10

The Eagle opens in theaters on February 11th.

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Will you be seeing The Eagle this weekend?