Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rome (The Complete Second Season)

DVD review from The Movie Snob

Rome (The Complete Second Season). Season 2 picks up immediately where Season 1 left off. (If you haven't seen Season 1 yet, be warned that Season 1 spoilers follow.) Julius Caesar lies dead on the floor of the Roman Senate, and Lucius Vorenus's wife Niobe has just committed suicide rather than suffer an honor killing at Vorenus's hands. The major question hanging over Season 2 (if you don't know your history) is who will emerge as the first man in Rome: Mark Antony or Octavian Caesar. As in Season 1, two ordinary Roman soldiers play important roles in the action and give us a look at life for non-noble Romans--Vorenus, who is put in charge of law and order in Rome's commercial district, and his comrade-in-arms Titus Pullo. I thoroughly enjoyed it, although Season 2 doesn't have quite the same narrative drive as Season 1--probably because it lacks a single dominating figure like Julius Caesar. But there are plenty of vivid secondary characters beyond Vorenus and Pullo: Cicero, Brutus and his scheming mother Servilia, Octavian's mother Atia and his sister Octavia, the Jewish strongman Timon, and of course, as the season winds down, Cleopatra. As in Season 1, there is ample graphic violence and nudity and graphic sex, so this is no show for children, but these flourishes do vividly illustrate the point that Roman customs and morality were a far cry from the Judeo-Christian ethic that still generally prevails in the modern West. I haven't watched all the mini-features on the five DVDs that make up this set, but the couple I have watched, like "Antony and Cleopatra," were definitely worth it.


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