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Rome - The Complete First Season

Drama, Military & War, and Television movie directed by Allen Coulter, Michael Apted, and Timothy Van Patten

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History Was NEVER So Much Fun

  • May 31, 2008
Pros: Superb acting, incredible sets, very well written.

Cons: It only went for two seasons. DANG.

The Bottom Line: One of the best history shows I've ever seen. Some situations are very mature and not suited for children.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot.

I'm a natural sucker for a show like this. I'm an art history nerd who was HBO lonely after Carnivale ended.

I was engaged from the opening credits as antique images come to life with animation and interact with strains of music that evoke a sense of the exotic.

The history presented in this series is solid, as much as we can truly know about actual events of 2000 years ago. Where there are events that are open to some "tinkering" we find one of the main characters, Titus Pullo, played by Ray Stevenson. Pullo takes on a very Forest Gump sort of importance for many of the events that happen in the times. Where Forest Gump invented the popular culture of the 20th century, Titus Pullo was personally responsible for many pivotal events in ancient Rome.

Pullo and his friend Lucius Vorenus, played by Kevin McKidd are soldiers in the 13th Legion of Rome. They are hardened soldiers, toughened by long battle experience. They represent the common person in Rome and present the perspective in strong contrast to the aristocratic families of Julius Caesar, Brutus and Mark Antony.

There is no way that one could not call this a soap opera. The drama revolves around particular and colorful situations that extend over multiple episodes. It is so very well done.

The first season culminates with the obvious conclusion on the Ides of March. Knowing that Julius Caesar (played by Ciarán Hinds) has a well known date with destiny, much of the action involves getting the viewer to that point. This is done with superb acting, incredibly detailed sets and costumes that are visually stunning.

Much of the tension in the first season is created by the rivalry of two strong women, Atia of the Julii (Polly Walker) and Servilia of the Junii (Lindsay Duncan). They play dirty and they do so with consummate style. Relegated to the background because of their gender, they both manage to stir situations by their clever machinations. Servilia, the mother of Brutus (Tobias Menzies) is the spurned lover of Julius Caesar and she plays a wicked payback game.

Filmed largely on location in Italy, this collaboration between HBO and the BBC utilizes a huge standing film set. The attention to detail shown in the architectural settings makes watching this show a visual feast. I'm particularly fond of the domiciles. The homes reflect the Roman home layouts that I've studied in art history and display them in a sumptuous manner.

Quality acting performances are turned in by all the major cast members. One understands the righteous indignation of Vorenus as the character develops and changes and grows. The viewer wants to just smack Atia for being incredibly self-motivated and shameless in her pursuit of her ambition and her desire for Antony (James Purefoy).

I found myself constantly looking up details from the show to find that the writers have stayed close to recorded history. HBO brings history alive so vividly in Rome. I've never seen anything like it.


Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older

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More Rome - The Complete First Seas... reviews
review by . April 01, 2008
Lucius Vorenus
I missed Rome when it was first showing on HBO, and I am glad I waited for the DVD release, since each episode is so good, I end up finished the whole season in a few sittings.    The first season focuses on the events in the late Roman repulic and leading up to Julius Caesar's Assassination, it's not the usual TV/movie about Rome that just show the grandiose vista and battles, it more focuses on the political intrigue, and the transformation of Rome from the viewpoint of two …
review by . September 05, 2006
This is a geat production. As other reviews have noted, the actors and acting are first rate, the production values are superb, and the soundtrack alarmingly lifelike at times. So if you love eye candy, great sound, incredible drama, and wonderful sets and costumes, by all means buy it. I salute all the talents and crafts that came together to create it. On a decent home theater with a well-calibrated plasma or other monitor, this will truly knock your socks off.    What I find …
review by . August 08, 2006
HBO takes risks, thank goodness, and this series ROME is a fine example of how far a television project can go toward the movie industry and still maintain interest when broken into weekly installments. There may be a number of quibbles from Latin scholars and historians as to the veracity of it all, but ROME is not a documentary: ROME is a novel played out in Grand Guignol fashion with a sterling cast and a creative production crew.    The action takes place in 52 BC and allows …
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Stills from Rome (click for larger image)



A generously budgeted show jointly produced by HBO and the BBC, ROME takes viewers back to 52 BC for a chance to relive the reign of Julius Caesar. The first season revolves around the lives of two Roman soldiers, Lucius Vorenus (Kevin McKidd) and Titus Pullo (Ray Stevenson), who win favor with Caesar (Ciaran Hinds) by defeating a mutinous plot from the devious Pompey Magnus (Kenneth Cranham). This affords the two men a gateway into the lives of Rome's ruling classes, and so the season unfolds, with intricately woven plots, fine acting, and stunning recreations of the ancient city, to provide a thoroughly engrossing television show. Details have been painstakingly pored over to ensure accuracy, so both history buffs and viewers less versed in the ways of Caesar should find something to enjoy here. This release contains the entire first season of the show.
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Release Date: 2006
MPAA Rating: Unrated
DVD Release Date: Warner Home Video (August 15, 2006)
Runtime: 619 minutes
Studio: Hbo Home Video
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