Image for Agora

As the sun sets on the Roman Empire, Christians and pagans battle for hegemony in bustling Alexandria. Meanwhile, philosopher Hypatia (Weisz) grabbles with the Earth's place in the universe.


Perhaps the edgiest portrayal of Christianity since Life Of Brian, Alejandro Amenábar’s epic depicts the Christians of fourth-century Alexandria as a Taliban-like cadre, as likely to boink you over the head with a rock as turn the other cheek. First the city’s pagans, then the Jews feel the sharp end of their political scheming, while aloof from the carnage, philosopher Hypatia (Rachel Weisz) plots the Earth’s trajectory around the sun.

Amenábar’s camera swoops through a city in tumult, rendered with hand-built sets as well as CGI, as Hypatia and her students are drawn into the maelstrom. While some characters are too thin to tie up the plot strands, it’s a bold, thought-provoking return by The Others’ director and a timely assault on religious intolerance.

Always intelligent and thought-provoking, it's a welcome return from Amenábar.