Agora (12A)

Film

Period and swashbuckler films

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Apr 20 2010

Alejandro Amenábar, the Spanish director of ‘The Others’ and ‘The Sea Inside’, puts on his sword and sandals – and thinking cap – for this sweeping, ancient-historical drama of ideas. Current debates over religious extremism and scientific rationalism hover subtly over this fictionalisation of events surrounding the sacking of the library at Alexandria in 391 in the face of rising tension between pagans, Christians and Jews. As well as recreating the city with impressive realism and scale, Amenábar develops a compelling sense of volatility and impending violence. At the centre of it all is scientist and teacher Hypatia (a relaxed Rachel Weisz), whose musings on the place of the Earth in the universe run counter to religious dogma.

Other characters, such as Hypatia’s former slave Davus (Max Minghella) and her pupil-turned-Roman prefect Orestes (Oscar Isaac) are only interesting as representatives of change – and not as romantic foils. The build-up of emnity is more absorbing than its explosion and the story wanders later on, but the film’s portrayal of how religious fervour can interrupt the progress of secular knowledge is acute and welcome.
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Release details

Rated:

12A

UK release:

Fri Apr 23, 2010

Duration:

127 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

2.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:3
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|10
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RachaelV

Couldn't agree more with Gort. Extremely disappointing. Facile dialogue, barely credible characterisation and drama, full of historical inaccuracies, totally lacking in subtlety or interest. Dreadful ... and *very* disappointing from the director of the wonderful The Sea Inside.

Adam Powell

What a dumb film was that! Full of historical lies and manipulative storylines with weak direction.

Richard

Terrible film. Poor Rachel Weisz had no one to act with and a dire, clunking script. Often pretentious about religion and science yet strangely with nothing original to say. A lot of people left before the end and I wish I had - it did not improve. While I am up for a stoning as much as the next man, I lost count how many times they fell back on pebble chucking for action. No sense of drama. There was nothing convincing about this film. Don't see it. They don't deserve your money.

Nigel Toft

this is a very,very good film ..thought provoking and very moving... the attitudes displayed by the Christian Bishop and his thugish followers are so refelective of those displayed by the many religious fanatics around today..

Nigel Toft

this is a very,very good film ..thought provoking and very moving... the attitudes displayed by the Christian Bishop and his thugish followers are so refelective of those displayed by the many religious fanatics around today..

Brian Petts Wood

Interesting topic but simlified and cardboard treatment of both historical/political turmoil as well as personal conflicts meant this film lost a great opportunity. It was not clear as to whether it wanted to focus on characters or external factors which made it feel very uneven and incomplete in the editing.Rachel Weisz sounded and looked great and more chance to exploit her strength would have helped.

LYRIS

Beautifully shot, directed and cast. Historically somewhat inaccurate and full of cringing drivel. Yet, entertaining (the story in mind, not sure this is a good sign)

Joe Gill

I must have seen a different film to others because as far as I am concerned this was the most impressive and compelling swords and sandals epic since Spartacus. I have been waiting for Hollywood or anyone else to write a film that does the period justice. Agora is far better than the daft antics of Gladiator and all the other overblown Hollywood efforts of recent years. I do not know whether the Christians burned the books or not. However there was something chillingly believable about Bishop Cyril and his fanatical followers. None of the characters were black and white, all had flaws including Hypatia. This was grown up drama shot with astonishing beauty and vision.

Joe Gill

I must have seen a different film to others because as far as I am concerned this was the most impressive and compelling swords and sandals epic since Spartacus. I have been waiting for Hollywood or anyone else to write a film that does the period justice. Agora is far better than the daft antics of Gladiator and all the other overblown Hollywood efforts of recent years. I do not know whether the Christians burned the books or not. However there was something chillingly believable about Bishop Cyril and his fanatical followers. None of the characters were black and white, all had flaws including Hypatia. This was grown up drama shot with astonishing beauty and vision.

Gort

I watched this movie and I really disliked it. The good side of the movie is that re-creation of that ancient city is very impressive. Also it is interesting to see Christians as bad guys in historical movie in opposition to those biblical movies. Other side of the movie is it's weak drama which Amenábar replaces with talks about popular science. He makes Hypatia so smart that if the movie was little bit longer she would discover Warp drive. The other thing is that the movie is not historical but a crusade against Christians. I mean you can just look at Wikipedia and see that Christians did not destroy books of Ancient Library of Alexandria but it was destroyed in 48 BC by Caesar. Christians destroyed the pagan temple in 391 AD but at that time there were no books there anymore. Christians did not hate science and did not believe the world is flat as film says because nobody believed the world is flat since at least 4th century BC. That was actually invention of 19th century. Not to mention things like Jesuits had built the first reflecting telescopes, microscopes, barometers, were first to calculate the constant of gravity, the first to measure the height of the mountains on the moon, the first to develop an accurate method of calculating a planet's orbit, the first to devise and publish a coherent description of atomic theory.