Plot: After watching his entire family be slaughtered, Milo is raised in slavery. Trained to be a gladiator, his fate is to live and die by the sword. He is an expert fighter – a position that creates more enemies than friends.
But when moved to Pompeii, Milo’s fate begins to change. He befriends a fellow gladiator and falls in love with a beautiful woman – one pursued and betrothed to a sadistic Roman senator. When the famous volcano begins its eruption, Milo must fight with all of his skill to not only survive, but save the ones he loves as well.
Quote: `No gladiator should die from a blade to the back. When you die, it should be to the front and it will come from my hand.
Well, I can make you a better promise: When you die, it will be quick and it will come from my hand.`
Opinion: There is a trait these days that when a film is made out of a historical event, some crucial detail is missing. Or there is an element that depicts characters as weak and the plotline lacking. I was sceptical about this film. I was proved wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The plot was straightforward, but considering the natural disaster is the main focus point of the film, that was all that was needed. It had enough depth to help the audience to feel for the characters in order to want them to survive and therefore be engaged with their struggle to escape. The `bad guy` proved to be just enough of a threat to wish for his downfall before the volcano starts erupting. This helped keep the momentum going and increase the tension. The film would have stalled dramatically if waiting just for the volcano to make its presence known.
Kit Harrington knows how to play dark and broody. I have seen him in no other role. But he was the perfect choice for the tortured Milo, both in looks and temperament. He has the strength and physique a gladiator would expect to have in order to survive but also the soft-spoken, romantic tones to make the love story believable. Emily Browning was also an excellent choice as Cassia – not a well-known actress but a deserving one of the role. Harrington’s known status against hers was an ironic twist between characters and actors.
The setting was effective given the time period it was set in. It looked authentic. But the true visual was shown through the volcanic eruption. To see it on the big screen must have been amazing and the effects are inspiring. Dramatic yet not too over the top that it twists towards surrealism.
Overall, I enjoyed this film. It provided good entertainment to watch and played on the emotions enough that the ending was heart-felt. The acting was good and the setting believable. The plot moved with enough pace that it kept you engaged and the fight-scenes were well orchestrated. An enjoyable film from start to finish.