Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Rome The Complete First Season|
Actors: Ciarán Hinds, Polly Walker, James Purefoy, Lindsay Duncan, Indira Varma
Directors: Michael Apted, Allen Coulter, Timothy Van Patten
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Television, Military & War
(HBO Dramatic Series) Four hundred years after the founding of the Republic, Rome is the wealthiest city in the world, a cosmopolitan metropolis of one million people; epicenter of a sprawling empire. The Republic was foun... more »
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Full of violent and sex? Yes and so was ancient Rome
steve b | Dudley England | 06/01/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I suppose that the only other series on Ancient Rome which comes to mind was the superb I Claudius with Derek Jacobi as the club footed Emperor. Rome is different from I Claudius. I Claudius was concerned only the workings of the Imperial family and never stepped outside of the world of the Rome elite. It is true that in Rome many of the main figures are also from an earlier elite, Caesar, Cato, Brutus Pompey etc but we also see what life was like for those at the bottom and in the middle of Roman society. This is done through the two retired Roman soldiers played by Kevin McKidd and Ray Stevenson, both of who struggle to come to terms with the cut throat world of late republican Rome. It this case the term cut throat means just that, make a mistake in business or in life and you did end up with your throat cut.
What this series shows, which I have never seen before, is how the spendour of the offical Rome sat along side the ramshackleness of ordinary Roman life.
The show may be full of violence but so were the ancient Romans. Brutus, Caesar, Cato, Pompey, Anthony and Cicero did in fact all meet violent deaths. We may see the splendour that was Rome but we must remember that it was based on one of the most bloody and brutal systems of government which ever existed. A system whose power came from the power of the Army to not only defend the borders of the Empire but also crush any sign of discontent at home. A society based on slavery which threw criminals to wild animals and where men fought each other to the death for the entertainment of the crowd. At the top of the pile not many Emperors died in the beds.
Ciaran Hinds is great a Caesar, as is Kenneth Cranham as Pompey, who he plays as a man passed his best. Ten years earlier you get the idea that he would have given Caesar a better run for his money.
As for the Sex, look at the murals at Pompei and read the writings of the time to see what a large part it played in Roman life. As we say in the UK 'they were at it like rabbits.'
All in all a good drama and as far as I can tell a pretty accurate picture of Rome as it moved from a Republic to an Empire."
N. Durham | Philadelphia, PA | 05/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Rome, HBO's ambitious, and expensive, series revolving around the events leading up to the assassination of Julius Caesar (Ciaran Hinds), is a sight to behold. Created and filmed by a plethora of talented individuals (including legendary film maverick John Milius), Rome is brought to life with a fantastic set design that must be seen to be believed; it's as if the city is breathing. The story follows two of Caesar's soldiers (Ray Stevenson and Trainspotting's Kevin McKidd) who find themselves throughout many events in Roman history, beginning with inadvertantly rescuing Octavian (Max Pirkis), being lost at sea, assisting Cleopatra (in more than one way, this episode will leave you laughing) and Caesar's struggle with Pompey Magnus (Kenneth Cranham). Despite some historical inaccuracies, Rome is everything you'd come to expect from an HBO series: rich characterizations, an engrossing story, and a superbly assembled, large cast (including James Purefoy as Marc Antony, Kerry Condon, and Polly Walker as the scheming Atia), Rome is compulsively addictive viewing, made even more so by the climax and of the season finale, which will have you begging for more."
The gods that walk beside us
Serai | Los Angeles, CA United States | 10/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Many people here have talked about the quality of this series, which opinions I agree with. The show is sumptuous not only in its depiction of noble Rome, but also that of common Rome, the people whose lives and work made the Republic possible. The characters are well-drawn and excellently acted, and the production is top-notch, especially considering it as a TV production, which usually come off as less polished to me.
The theme I would like to talk about is the depiction of religion in Roman life. It is rare to see a pagan culture portrayed as well as this one is, and in as detailed a manner. Not that the religious aspects of the culture are harped on; they're not. But the gods are ever-present in just the way that gods are in any culture that is centered on its religious beliefs and practices. There are paintings, murals, mosaics and figures; shrines and priests and rituals; blessings exchanged between spouses and curses thrown between enemies; all of them with the ring of historical authenticity.
And it's not just the fact of their presence that impressed me, but also the attitude shown towards this part of Roman life by the filmmakers, one of complete, factually based acceptance. Unlike so many films, these people are not in the slightest way looked down on or demonized for believing as they do. There is no tinge of "poor deluded fools" or "godless heathens" here. On the contrary, everything about their religious life is taken just as seriously as one could hope for. (Or at least, as seriously as the characters themselves take it, which of course varies depending on whom one is watching, just as it would if the film were about modern people in a modern world.)
This theme becomes apparent from the very first moments, during the magnificently clever credit sequence. The gods and beliefs of Rome are literally brought to life in shots of the streets, walls, pillars, and passageways of the city, where the ever-present chalk and paint grafitti (yes, the name really IS that old) begin to dance to the haunting, sensual Mediterranean musical theme. (I certainly hope to see a soundtrack album soon!) It's an enchanting, slightly unnerving short film in and of itself, a little meditation on how the stories we believe in are constantly around, behind, above and beneath us, inspiring and supporting our daily lives. The snake painting slithering on the walls, the chalk lion roaring in the shadows, the hastily sketched Birth of Athena with its attendant bloody show, the quickly slashed outline of Priapus (Romans were very centered on the primacy of the phallus, a fact which is not ignored in this show), Medusa's serpent hair writhing and hissing from a mosaic - all of these charming and disquieting images flash past us and establish a world full of depth and mystery. And that's just the first manifestation of this theme in the series.
There are serious, weighty scenes of solemn ritual, private moments of prayer from individuals to their personal gods, the occasional philosophical exchange about the whims and possible intentions of the gods, and other such touches to the scripts, which seat the people and the culture squarely within the framework of a religious worldview, and that's something that I rarely find in films about bygone eras. Usually, if a culture isn't Christian, its religious realities are either ignored, glossed over, trivialized, or exaggerated in some grotesque, ignorant way to prop up the prejudices of our own day, that wish to believe our dominant religions are the only possible ones for "civilized" people. It's exceedingly rare to see this one handled in such a matter-of-fact way.
As an instance, I was especially pleased by the moment when Vorenus is bidding his wife goodbye before marching off to battle. They embrace, and Niobe murmurs, "Bellona protect you." To which Vorenus answers, "And Juno keep you." Bellona was the Roman goddess of war and bloodshed, and Juno was the matron goddess of wives and marriage. To hear those two names used in such a natural and tender scene, and used CORRECTLY, was quite touching and very satisfying. (The only other time I can remember a scene of pagan religion so well handled was in another film about Rome - Ridley Scott's "Gladiator", where the little scene of Russell Crowe's character praying in private to his household gods was played so naturally and so reverently that it literally brought tears to my eyes.) There are several moments like this little exchange between husband and wife, and other ways in which we learn how important religion was to Rome and its people, such as Caesar's sponsoring of Octavian to the College of Pontiffs.
Now, I don't want to give the impression that this is a major part of the show. The whole point to its effectiveness is that the religious themes are in the background, only sometimes at a level where they actually influence events. But in another way, they're influencing events constantly. Just like today, religion was woven throughout both politics and daily life in Rome, and this series helps us understand how and why. And again, the filmmaker's non-judgmental attitudes about the presence of such things really helps to give the film credibility in its portrayal of Roman life as a living, breathing reality, rather than some white marble stereotype, both sterile and stale. And for that they are to be commended, which I do most heartily.
Oh, and in reponse to the criticism below of the portrayal of Cleopatra and her court: the portrayal here is, in fact, quite accurate. Lots of people make the mistake of equating Cleopatra with Nefertiti, but the Ptolemies were not native Egyptians. They were of Greek stock, and took over the throne of Egypt rather than inheriting it. Cleopatra did NOT live in Pharaonic times; her family reigned centuries after the last of the Pharoahs had died. Historical accounts of the period describe her as a pale-skinned, red-haired woman with freckles, and there are images of her extant from the period, in which we can see she was no relation at all to the dusky, long-necked beauties of the Pharoahs' courts. It's true that the Ptolemies did try to revive the old Pharaonic styles, mostly in order to make the people accept them better (and, to be sure, partly because it was all very cool and made them feel powerful and godlike), but it was an attempt to bring back a time and culture that was gone, rather than a hereditary continuation of it."
"Rome" Came In Like A Lamb & Went Out Like A Lion
prisrob | New EnglandUSA | 08/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Lucius Vorenus: It makes no sense. We should have been stopped by now. Why is Rome not defended?
Titus Pullo: Our boys scared 'em off, eh?
Lucius Vorenus: Soldiers of the Republic do not run, so it must be a stratagem, a trick.
Titus Pullo: It's a good trick.
Lucius Vorenus: Unless the gods have abandoned Rome... If Mars were watching, he would not allow such a disgrace.
Titus Pullo: Maybe he was havin' a crap and missed it."
Sex, dancing girls, severed heads, gallows humour, four-letter words, strong women, and power displays are all to the fore in this marvelous series. "Rome" came on like a lamb, stole our hearts and minds and went out like a Lion. A series like no other. This is a story about a great man, Julius Caesar, played by Ciaaran Hinds, glorious and handsome man. We came to praise him and we do. We come to like Julius Caesar and we know what is to come. He is a benevolent leader and mixes with the local soldier group. The standout characters are two of Caesar's soldiers, Lucius Vorenus played by Kevin McKidd and Titus Pullo played by Ray Stevenson. They are real people, have real hearts and minds and can suffer along with the rest of us.
"Rome" is a 100 million dollar HBO series. The scenes are glorious, depravity and lusty and dirty. We are privy to the real sex and feelings of the characters and what a group they are. We come to like most of them. The costuming is marvelous, 4,000 pieces of wardrobe were made or found. The scenery is fabulous- the olive trees in the Sacred Grove of the Forum set are over 200 years old. It is this kind of thing, maybe small in the realm of things, but this is what makes up the gloriousness of this series, "Rome". I absolutely loved it and was glued to the TV and watched each episode several times.
"Rome" has been nominated for several awards and justly deserves each one:
BAFTA Awards: BAFTA TV Award for Best Production Design, Best Visual Effects, Best Titles
Cinema Audio Society, USA: C.A.S. Award for Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Television Series
Emmy Awards: Emmy for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music, Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Dramatic Underscore
Golden Globes, USA: Golden Globe for Best Television Series - Drama, Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama
Satellite Awards: Satellite Award for Outstanding Television Series, Drama, Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Writers Guild of America, USA: WGA Award (TV) for New Series
"Rome" began as a mystery. We knew how it should end, but the in-between was such a joy to behold. The acting, the story, the scenery, the costumes, the brutality, the political intrigue, the characters who come to life, drag us in. You can't help it, you love these people, you don't want the series to end. It does, but it is only Part One. "Rome", Part Two is to come, and it is enough to keep us going, waiting. Sweetie and I will be waiting.
Lucius Vorenus: Do you think of *nothing* but women?
Titus Pullo: What else is there?
Titus Pullo: Food, I s'pose.
Very Highly Recommended. prisrob 8-05-06