“Pompeii” directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, and starring Kit Harington, Emily Browning, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jared Harris, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Kiefer Sutherland, tells the story of Milo (Harington), a slave who has been forced into the life of a gladiator. Milo must fight for his life and for the life of his love, Cassia (Browning), who is blackmailed into betrothal with cruel Roman Senator, Corvus (Sutherland). Mount Vesuvius is just as cruel with its destruction raining down on the city of Pompeii and its unprepared citizens.
When I first saw the trailer for “Pompeii” I was less than impressed with the concept, mainly because everyone already knows the ending and I was skeptical that the film could make me feel anything other than a sense of dread because of it. I’m happy to say that the film has much more to offer. Yes, the ending is still what we all expect it to be, but there is a sort of twist in there that makes it moving.
Harington does a good job here. In “Game of Thrones” his character tends to not have much screen time so there’s very little chance for Harington to show his acting chops. However, in this film he is the male protagonist and so has plenty of time to showcase his talent. Right from the beginning I was rooting for Milo in battle and hoping that he’d survive everything.
“She risked everything for me.”
The female protagonist, Cassia, doesn’t fall into the cliché helpless woman that tends to permeate historical films. Here we have a character who is caring, bold, and strong. Most of all, even though she needs help getting away from Corvus she doesn’t just wait to be rescued. No, she’s fighting to free herself while Milo is in pursuit. Though the ending could seem a bit cheesy, I don’t mind that it gives into the romance a bit.
If you know something about the actual incident in Pompeii, you probably know about the people turned to statues. The film incorporates this historical aspect in multiple ways that may pull at your heartstrings. As well, the visuals are stunning, making the cinematography and the CGI one of the strongest points of the movie.
“I don’t want to spend our last moments running.”
If there’s something negative about this film, it’s that it’s definitely heavy on action scenes as opposed to plot. I would have liked to see a bit more relationship building between the protagonists. Also, the tag-line on the poster isn’t exactly correct in its assumption that there was “no warning”. There were a lot of warnings: small earthquakes, smoke spouting from the volcano, etc. So there was warning of the eruption, it’s just that the citizens didn’t believe it would ever erupt.
Overall, “Pompeii” is definitely better than expected. I hadn’t anticipated that it would be good, but the film delivered pretty well. If you like historical movies with a lot of intense action scenes, you may want to give this film a watch.