Newest Review: ... meet him and Maximus at the battlefield. Commodus is hoping his father will announce his heir and expects it will be him. Still, Marcus... more
Glory of the Empire.
Member Name: daseaford
Date: 13/01/02, updated on 15/02/02 (54 review reads)
Advantages: Great acting., Realistic effects.
Disadvantages: A bit gory., Lot of blood.
We all learnt at school that around the time of Jesus and for the following few hundred years the Roman Empire stretched across vast areas of the world, after conquering vast swathes of land. This film is set around 180 AD when Marcus Aurelius (played by Richard Harris) was the Emperor of the Roman Empire.
His son, Commodus (played by Joaquin Phoenix) desperately wants the succession to be the next Emperor, but when he learns that his father plans to hand power over to his top army general – Maximus (played by Russell Crowe), then he kills his father before his plans can be announced.
The film then follows the fate of Maximus who manages to escape execution but is sold into slavery. From being a slave he becomes a gladiator where he entertains crowds by ruthlessly killing others. His reputation as a great fighter brings him to Rome where he is taken to the Colosseum for great battles in front of the Emperor.
Maximus has pledged himself to kill Commodus as he was responsible for his wife and son being crucified and burnt alive. Caught in the middle of this conflict is Commodus’s sister, Lucilla (played by Connie Nielsen), who has always loved Maximus.
The sub plot running throughout the film is the power struggle between the Roman Senate and the Roman Emperors as to whether the Roman Empire should be a Republic or a Dictatorship.
The film is very well made and has the reputation of being an epic. There are quite a number of rapid changes of pace. One minute you are watching massive battle sequences, which are very gory and gruesome and the next minute there is a slow, quiet scene of soft dialogue between two individuals. For me these changes were sometimes too abrupt and I was left feeling that a number of “loose ends” were left unfinished throughout the film.
I know that I may be risking the wrath of Russell Crowe fans by criticising the film, but I only have praise for the acting. There w
as so much effort and expression portrayed by all of the actors that it can easily be seen why it won so many awards.
The special effects and the make-up were spectacular. This certainly is not a film to be watched by anybody who does not like the sight of blood. Body parts seem to fly off very easily during the battle scenes. The addition of computer generated images was seamless to the “live” action and this must be down to a terrific level of expertise in the production team.
I am told by a film “buff” who has seen this film many times that if you look very carefully that you can see a white van in the background of one scene and that there are two occasions where you can see Roman soldiers wearing digital watches. Well, I did not see these and I glad to say that the film was appealing enough that I was following the plot and not looking for these oddities.
Certainly if you enjoy the “sand and sandals” type film then this is one that you must see. The acting is superb and the production is massive. I am sure I will watch this film again, although I may “fast forward” through a few of the slower sections.