“Agora” is a fine Robes and Sandals film with plenty of action and drama, starring Rachael Wiesz as Hypatia, a 4th Century Philosopher, astronomer and mathematician in the legendary city of Alexandria in Roman Egypt. The film has terrific set design and photography, but the viewer will be struck by the battle between science and religion and how some basic philosophic battles continue to rage to the present day. This a very successful Spanish production, all in English, with nice performances by a young cast and , of course, the always reliable Miss Weisz. The Agora is the meeting place where the religious politics of Alexandria plays out with tragic results. The dangers of fundamentalist extremism are on full display in this historical drama, a battle between the elite Poly-Theists, the Christians, and the Jews, which makes it very topical in relation to the religious strife in today’s headlines. Some things never change, including human relationships and the complicated bond between teacher, Hypatia, and her former students, Orestes ( Oscar Isaac, a young Rufus Sewell lookalike, who later becomes Prefect of Alexandria), and Davus (Max Minghella), her former slave, provides the soap style drama.
Hypatia is obsessed with how the world acts the way is does in relation to the sun, so we get a dose of Discovery Channel style science that acts as refresher course for us English Majors,