The Eagle – Movie Review
The Eagle – Movie Review
Review by Stacey Tuttle
One man trying to restore a symbol of honor must put his life in the hands of a man who declares, “I hate everything you are and everything you stand for.” The very thing one is willing to die to defend is the very thing the other would die to destroy: Rome.
Rome was a mixed bag.
On the one hand, Rome was mighty. Militarily, governmentally, culturally… in just about any sphere. Rome was immense in its size and its influence just about any way you looked at it. So, for a Roman, there was tremendous pride in being Roman and honor in serving Rome. In Marcus’ own words: “Can you imagine anything more honorable than to be a soldier for Rome?”
But on the other hand, Esca was quick to point out to the somewhat naïve Marcus that there was more to the story. As a slave from a land conquered by Rome, Esca had seen another side of Rome. Knowing their town was about to be conquered by Roman soldiers, Esca had watched his own father kill his mother (Esca’s mother) in an act of mercy, to ensure she wasn’t raped and either sold into slavery or murdered brutally by the Romans. He had seen the senseless cruelty of the Roman soldiers as they conquered new lands for Rome’s “honor.” He told Marcus, “Rome also did that.”
So what was it? Was Rome honorable or not?
We want answers, don’t we? We want a yes or a no.
The answer is sometimes more complicated than that.
I think of Christianity and the church (church universal—the body of believers). Those of us who are Christians are much like Marcus. We love Jesus and we love His church. Sometimes we are so in love with Jesus and with the Christian ideals of honor and truth and righteousness, etc. that we are a little blind to things that have been done in the name of Jesus. We miss the sad fact that many awful deeds have been out of a twisted interpretation of and response to those very ideals. We miss it because, for us (just as it was for Marcus), there is no greater thing, no thing more honorable, than to be a soldier for Christ.
But then there are those who have seen the other side. The ones who, because of what they have seen of Christians and Christianity, say that they hate everything Christians are and everything they stand for. And. sometimes with as good a reason as ever Esca had for such a statement.
Esca and Marcus started out as enemies because of their diametrically opposed opinions of Rome. However, what they found was that they had something much deeper in common. While they disagreed about whether or not Romans had been honorable, they both agreed that honor itself was worth dying for.
As they matured, Marcus saw how disgracefully many of his countrymen had behaved. While it made him more honest about the shortcomings of his countrymen, it didn’t change his dedication to the ideals of Rome. Esca discovered that he too had been guilty of viewing his homeland through rose colored glasses. In his hatred for Rome, he had idealized his own people. When he and Marcus were in his homeland, he began to see that his people weren’t any less savage than the very Romans he had come to hate…in fact, they were even worse.
In case you are wondering how it ends, Marcus and Esca become like brothers, each willing to serve the other even unto death. More interestingly, Esca voluntarily returns to Rome with Marcus and finally becomes a convert, essentially. He finally buys into the idea of Rome, the honor and nobility that was associated with the nation of Rome.
All said and done, they realized that while Romans, the citizens of Rome, poorly represented Rome’s ideals, the problem was with the people, not the ideals themselves.
I guess it makes me wonder where we find ourselves in this story.
Are you an idealistic Christian who thinks Christians can do no wrong? Or are you jilted and angry at all Christians because of some horrible examples?
If you have been the idealist, are you able to now separate Christians from Christ himself? Are you able to see where Christians have screwed up and gotten wrong all that Christ was about?
If you have been wronged by Christians, are you able to stop hating Christ for the poor example of some of his self-proclaimed followers?
If you are like Esca, I encourage you to examine Christ himself. Forget the terrible examples you may have seen and heard about. They are not Christ. What about Christ? What about HIS teachings? If you accept or reject him, let it be on the basis of Himself alone, not on your assumptions about him based on people who had the audacity to claim his name for their shameful deeds.
And if you find that you are a Marcus, then I encourage you greatly, it was his example which showed Esca the good in Rome. He was the one who opened his eyes to the ideals of Rome. He was the one who won over Esca’s friendship, his loyalty and his heart. You are in such a place to the world around you. Your actions may be the final straw which forever turns an Esca away from the faith, or the very thing which warms his heart to it.
Questions for Discussion:
Where do you find yourself in this story?
- Are you an idealistic Christian who thinks Christians can do no wrong?
- Or are you jilted and angry at all Christians because of some horrible examples?
- If you have been a Marcus, are you able to now separate Christians from Christ himself? Are you able to see where Christians have screwed up and gotten wrong all that Christ was about?
- If you have been wronged by Christians, are you able to stop hating Christ for the poor example of some of his self-proclaimed followers?