The Eagle

Kevin Macdonald's sword and sandal epic "The Eagle" has a cruisy Abercrombie & Fitch style that is not incidental considering the film stars Channing Tatum who epitomizes A&F's homoerotic narcissism. Tatum is strikingly handsome and cameras love him but he seems to be most comfortable in front of one when he's dancing (see Step Up). And yet, Tatum isn't half bad as the Roman cohort centurion Marcus Aquila on the hunt in the British Highlands for the ninth legion's lost golden eagle emblem. He doesn't show nearly as much skin as he customarily does in his movies, which might be a sign that he wants to be taken seriously from now on. The film still has a sticky masculinity, most of it provided by Tatum's buffed-up co-star Jamie Bell, who plays Aquila's bitterly aggrieved slave Esca. Bell, who I've always thought is a fine actor with a distinctively jug-eared handsomeness, doesn't seem to mind playing second fiddle to hunkier leading men, many of whom he ends up outshining (see Defiant & Jumper). That's true of The Eagle, too, though the circle Bell acts around Tatum is not nearly as wide as I expected it would be. In the end, Tatum carries the flick nobly (as the poster suggests) though his accent is spotty and he has no acting range to speak of. The Eagle is entertaining enough though not groundbreaking in any sense and, oddly, there is not a single female speaking part.

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