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Sunday, March 7, 2010

[6.50/10] Agora (2009)


Agora (2009)

"Agora" is a mildly-entertaining historical drama by the Spanish director Alejandro Amenábar, set in Alexandria around the end of the fourth century and features a woman named Hypatia, played by Rachel Weiss, who is considered in history to be a scientist, mathematician and philosopher, although in reality, very little fact is really known about her. The chief reason to see this film is for Rachel Weisz's performance. She is the main character and she gives an excellent performance. Whenever she is on screen you are riveted to the screen. Her excitement at discovery, her endless desire to learn, her ability to figure out the mysteries of the universe are fascinating and she makes them feel exciting even though we know it all already. She gets good support from her leading men, Max Minghella and Oscar Isaac, but it's hard for the three of them to connect with how unfocused the script is and that's the film's biggest problem. Unfortunately, when ever Weisz is off-screen there is nothing to hold our interest until she returns. The rest of the plot is a really blunt, unsubtle message about the dangers of religious zealotry blatantly inserted onto Hypatia's story to give it some sort of relevance. The sheer lack of subtlety and intelligence behind this message is annoying. Technically, "Agora" is stunningly beautiful - the costumes, the setting, the make-up, the art direction, it brought to life a fascinating Alexandria. Dario Marianelli's score is also very good, with its use of orchestra to highlight the magnificence of the movie.

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