Five years after The Sea Inside, Alejandro Amenábar travels back to an ancient civilization with his latest film, Agora. We ran a teaser for this a couple months back, but there’s a full-length domestic trailer available now, which encapsulates the story of Hypatia of Alexandria (Rachel Weisz) during the onset of Christianity in the Roman Empire. The film features some impressive production design, but does it have any other highlights? Check the trailer after the jump.
Here’s Brendon’s plot recap from his teaser post, since he is a bit more learned in this particular period than I:
Set in fourth century Alexandria, the story tells of the love of a slave, played by Max Minghella, for his master, played by Rachel Weisz. She is Hypatia, a teacher of Neoplatonist philosophy and, for the film’s purposes at least, a rather infamous atheist. The possibility of their romance is set against the uprising of Christianity.
There’s a great story in there. Any period of ideological schism is rife with dramatic opportunities, and Hypatia is an intriguing character. (She’s considered the first female mathematician of note, and was a teacher of philosophy and astronomy.) But this trailer nearly put me to sleep. It makes the movie appear completely enamored of its own weight and depth. There’s some incredible costume and set work here, and after seeing this clip I have absolutely no interest in watching it. Reading back over some reviews from Cannes, it seems I’m not alone.
For my money, I’d rather watch the teaser trailer, though it’s obvious in retrospect that it is selling a movie that doesn’t exist. But because no one talks in the teaser, you don’t get a sense that the movie is dramatically plodding. But I dig Amenábar’s work, so I’ll probably abandon the impression left by the trailer and catch the film anyway.