David Wenham is simply an amazing actor. He first came to the attention of film makers in his native Australia playing a character called Diver Dan in the ABC TV series Sea Change. His hearthrob good looks and winning ways got him a devoted female following, who tuned in every week to envy Sigrid Thornton as she was romanced by him.
But he soon showed there was more to him than matinee idol potential, as he flexeded his incredible acting muscles, playing a sleazy criminal in Getting Straight, a transvestite poet in Baz Lurhmann’s Moulin Rouge, and of course, the noble and magnificent warrior Faramir in Lord of the Rings. It seems there is nothing he can’t do - and nothing he won’t do for a role he covets.
Although he is very handsome, it was hard to imagine him as a powerful, muscular Spartan warrior, so to get the role of Dilios in Zack Snyder’s 300, he had to turn himself into a rippling human work of art like one of the illustrations in Frank Miller’s graphic novel, on which the movie was based. He is reported to have sent a video of himself taking on a rampant clothesline with a sword in his own Australian backyard, which impressed Snyder so much he signed Wenham on to the movie. Then the workouts began.
Wenham, along with his co-stars like Gerard Butler, who played King Leonidas, had to develop incredibly muscular thighs, biceps and pecs to look like Miller’s hunky drawings, and Snyder presents his movie in a graphic style reminiscent of the original novel. The result is overwhelming - one of the most powerful, and powerfully moving - spectacles ever to grace the big screen.
Of course, if you take Herodotus’ original account of the Spartan 300 that stood against five million Persians in Ancient Greece as an accurate historical document, then you will find 300 riddled with inaccuracies - but as an epic cinematic poem in its own right, 300 is simply stupendous. Gerard Butler, who before this played Beowolf and the Phantom of the Opera, also makes interesting role choices, and gives it everything he’s got.
300 can be harrowing, because it is as bloody and violent as it gets, but the performances and the sheer stunning visual look of the movie are what linger in the mind. That, and those thighs, pecs and biceps of course - even Schwarzaneggar’s Conan looks puny beside them.
I paid to see this movie with my own funds - worth every cent!