- Reviews Written:
As much as I enjoyed this film on a first viewing in the theatre, upon a second viewing at home I really had no choice but to give it a fairly modest ... More
Posted on 3/28/10 07:29 PM
The sets are limited, the production values aren't much better than a local town play, the historical accuracy is beyond dubious (Livia in particular is given a full on tabloid treatment and should sue from beyond the grave) and the episodes sometimes fall into a repetitive round of "evil schemer targets innocent (or not so innocent) victim, rinse and repeat until villain is finally done in by his or her excesses, enter next - and likely even worse - villain" but this is still one of the great tv mini-series of all time. The British cast is just stupendous, with alarmingly close to 100% of them playing utterly corrupt, degenerate swine ("Trust no one" should be the series tagline) they make the most of every scenery chewing moment. John Hurt in particular goes all out (in a terrible blonde wig) as the insane yet oddly pathetic Caligula and is mesmerizing in almost every scene he appears in. Matching that performance but far more subtle is the witty, wise and humane portrayal by Derek Jacobi of the series protagonist Claudius, the one sane man in a mad world, and of course the one man everyone holds in complete contempt. How that contempt turns into his shield to protect him from the endless rounds of poisonings, treachery and assassinations he is surrounded by his entire life ends up being a sublime thing to watch.