‘The Eagle’ is a new favorite movie of mine. Based on Rosemary Sutcliff’s most famous book, The Eagle of the Ninth, it takes some new directions with the source material but I still love the movie. I couldn’t say if I like it better than the book, as I haven’t read the book for a while. But I can easily say that Esca is my favorite character (Marcus is awesome though) and here are five reasons why. (I had to severely limit myself.) (Jk.) (But also legit.)
// Hello – it’s Jamie Bell //
Just thought I’d get this out of the way first because this movie kind of fueled my (*cough* huge *cough*) crush on Jamie Bell. (Or at least I thought it did until I found out he was in ‘Nicholas Nickleby’ which I watched ages ago and thought that the guy who played Smike deserved my attention.) In all seriousness, he does a fantastic job of portraying Esca (just not…book Esca? *cringes away from die-hard Sutcliff fans*). He has such a lovely accent and it’s a bit rougher than what you’d expect in a regular British accent, which is perfect because Britain was different back in the time of ‘The Eagle’.
// He has so much loyalty/patriotism //
I know it’s a huge thing in the books, how Esca is all “I’m my master’s dog to lie at my master’s feet” but he’s much more ferociously anti-Roman, pro-Britain in the movie. Esca’s patriotism is at the core of everything he does, even when it comes to serving Marcus, a Roman. Because Esca’s reasoning for staying under Marcus’ authority is that, since Marcus saved his life, Esca owes him one and he won’t break that loyalty because he’s a Brigantes/his father’s son. And this level of honor and loyalty being displayed by a guy whose entire family was just killed by the Romans (well, his mom was killed by his dad, but it was still because of the Romans)! That’s some serious strength of character.
// He’s pro //
One of my favorite scenes in ‘The Eagle’ is when Marcus and Esca are sitting by a river, eating their lunch, when Esca looks up and tells Marcus that there’s three rogue British warriors in the woods behind him (Marcus). Marcus can’t pick them out, but yeah…Esca’s a pro. If you need bloody entrails dug out of the wild boar you just killed, Esca’s a pro. If you’re a little kid, terrified about what your dad will do when he finds out that the guy who’s been super nice to you is leaving the village without a word…Esca’s a pro at giving you the (professionally carved) wooden fish he made. And if you’re that same little kid, suddenly murdered by your dad, be sure that Esca will revenge you in the pro-est, awesome-est way possible.
// He won’t be a piece in their Games //
(Oh, Peeta, how I love you…)
Our introduction to Esca is in a crudely built, mini-Coliseum. (Think ‘Gladiator’ before they all packed up and went off to Rome.) He’s pitted against this guy who’s got to be a crowd-pleaser because he has all this flashy equipment and headgear and it’s ridiculous. But instead of trying to defend himself (and he has to be furious at the Romans, the gladiator, and the whole mess of a situation), Esca throws down his sword and shield. Refuses to die on Roman terms. It’s kind of more than a little awesome.
// THE SMIRK //
The clip isn’t on Youtube, I can’t find a GIF anywhere, and my laptop won’t play DVDs so I can’t take a screenshot. BUT. In the final scene, when Marcus returns the eagle in all its glory to a bunch of Roman officials, Esca gives the greatest little smirk after Placidus (a snotty Roman legionnaire) gets a put-down from Marcus (because Placidus insulted Esca). IT’S SO GREAT. I LOVE IT. You must see it.
Have you ever watched ‘The Eagle’? Who’s your favorite character?
P.S. I forgot to mention Esca’s whole “He’s my slave” bit. That was gold. Just sayin’.