Movies: Channing Tatum in The Eagle

One has to wonder when Hollywood will stop casting Jamie Bell as the sidekick. It's not a matter of scene-stealing so much as a screen presence that's too big to hide. He only needs another Billy Elliot (2000) sized role to convince Hollywood of what is plainly obvious to moviegoers with working eyeballs: he's a star. In that dumb would-be franchise Jumper, Hayden Christensen stopped existing entirely once Bell was in frame. Channing Tatum fares quite a lot better but then, he's not a bad actor, just one with a small range.

Eagletaharharim I'd love to report that Tatum and Bell's epic game of Master & Servant, with the tables turned dramatically on more than one story occassion, was hilariously homo-erotic but though they have solid chemistry, the movie is more interested in their honor codes than their bodies despite the sometimes fleshy genre they're starring in.

On the bright side, the film's flaws are interesting. The casting is strange. One wonders what they were going for. Tatum and Bell both seem to be in the same movie but other key figures are not. Ubiquitous out gay character actor Denis O'Hare (True Blood) doesn't even bother with the time period (140 A.D if you're wondering). He's so 2011 you half expect him to whip out a laptop to school Channing on the fort's budgetary restrictions. Tahar Rahim, the sensational French star of A Prophet, is compelling as Marcus's nemesis, the Painted Warrior, but he's in a more otherworldly movie. Though the narrative is mainstream to the core with traditional masculine anxiety issues as dramatic bullet points (honor, daddy, the family name, cowardice vs bravery), The Eagle also fancies itself to be a lyrical Terrence Malick-like epic with hypnotic shots of nature forcing their way in repeatedly. Incidentally, that's the same weird movie that Tahar Rahim is starring in. When Channing and Jamie drop by to pay him a visit, the film hits its peak.

ALSO OPENING: Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston play fake husband and wife in JUST GO WITH IT; Justin Bieber gets his own 3D movie NEVER SAY NEVER GOING TO SEE THIS; If you're into fashion/culture time capsules the documentary VIDAL SASSON THE MOVIE has a few super moments but otherwise it's a hagiography; POETRY is an amazing South Korean film about an old woman rocked by a young girl's murder; Ed Helms stars in the comedy CEDAR RAPIDS with Sigourney Weaver and Anne Heche; and Shakespeare rolls over in grave for the animated film GNOMEO & JULIET.


  1. Zach says

    This was definitely strange brew – conventional action trying for something deeper and not simply paying lip service, yet just not working, narratively speaking. There was much more that could be said about the sanity and morality of what Tatum’s character did – after all, he’s trying to steal what was rightfully won in battle against vicious invaders. But whatever, they tried. Not a good film, but a decent effort.

    And while the movie wasn’t overtly homoerotic, I did start reading that into the characters (i.e. they were screwing every time the camera wasn’t on them), because it made a certain amount of sense after a point. Notably too, the film didn’t try to shoehorn an attractive woman into the story – something which has been par for the course for virtually all these quest films, no matter how unrealistic it is.

  2. Glenn says

    “In that dumb would-be franchise Jumper, Hayden Christensen stopped existing entirely once Bell was in frame.”


    So true. Jamie Bell as Griffin wasn’t stealing scenes but everytime he was in frame, your eyes always go to him even when he wasn’t doing anything. I hated that effin fight scene at the end.

  3. says

    My favorite line from the New Yorker review: “Is Channing Tatum the right guy for such desolation?… His eulogy to fallen comrades – ‘May your souls take flight and soar with the Eagle of the Ninth’ – is declaimed as if he were advising passengers to stow their tray tables and restore their seats to the upright position.”

  4. romeo says

    First of all, to the dork who thinks Channing needs to know how to act, are you nuts!? He just needs to stand there, preferably without a shirt. I saw this picture yesterday and was reasonably entertained. Basically it’s a 1950’s western done in Roman drag, but it does have a little flair like showing some Roman battle techniques. It obviously did not have a huge budget, but they put a lot of atmosphere up on the screen. Couldn’t figure out why Esca didn’t split after he got Marcus back to the wall, unless…? LOL

  5. jaragon says

    Channing and Jamie do everything but actually make out during the movie. It’s obvious from the moment Bell enters that Tatum wants him in more ways than one. The movie should have been better- it felt a bit long.

  6. TANK says

    So pissed that I wasted time seeing this abomination of a flick. My stupid friends who are stupid and like stupid things because they’re stupid wanted to see this stupid movie. Stupid stupid stupid stupid. I coulda been throwing stuff off the overpass, burning stuff, or pranking 911 or the suicide hotline…but no…..this ass movie interrupted my schedule. ASS MOVIE, 2 stars. Jamie Bell would be my type, too…if he weren’t goddamn midget. It’s inexplicable given the dumbo ears and stupid accent…accents are stupid.