Director Kevin Macdonald and writer Jeremy Brock team up again after “The Last King of Scotland” for “The Eagle.” Macdonald shows his viewers how uncivilized North Britain was in the 2nd century. The on location sets give the viewers a sense of the harsh and brutal terrain during the time. But Jeremy Brock’s screenplay makes the audience wait to find out how important the eagle is to the main character, Marcus Aquila. The audience isn’t shown until the middle of the movie how much Aquila cares about his family’s name and the symbolism of the eagle his father lost.
Channing Tatum’s performance is lacking. Compared to similar roles of military leaders like Mel Gibson in “Braveheart” or Russell Crowe in “Gladiator,” Tatum was unable to win over viewers. He did not strongly portray a soldier. Tatum is still remembered, by his female fans especially, from his bad boy dancing role in “Step Up.”
Jamie Bell, however, did a great job playing Aquila’s slave, Esca, from North Britain. Throughout the movie, the audience wonders if Bell’s character will keep his word or break his bond and betray Aquila. It’s an attempt to keep viewers on the edge of their seat, but it was still not a strong enough performance to make the film great.
“The Eagle” could have been more graphic, but had to scale back to keeps its PG-13 rating. But the film is historically accurate.