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"Rome" Pharsalus (2005)

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A victory for Caesar

Author: Tweekums from United Kingdom
12 February 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After a storm has sent almost all of Caesar's Thirteenth Legion to the bottom of the Mediterranean victory for Pompey is almost assured; he just has to wait for his enemy to capitulate… however those around him insist that he must be seen to crush Caesar on the field of battle. Against all the odds Caesar's forces prevail and Pompey flees to the coast hoping to sail to Egypt. Cicero and Brutus surrender to Caesar and are shocked to find themselves welcomed with open arms. Meanwhile Vorenus and Pullo find themselves shipwrecked on a sandbar with little chance of rescue. They manage to construct a makeshift raft and row to Greece where by amazing coincidence they are found by Pompey's party; Pullo wants to take Pompey back to Caesar but Vorenus disagrees… something that will incur Caesar's wrath later. Back in Rome they are unaware of Caesar's victory and Atia sends her daughter Octavia so seek help from Servilia.

This was a great episode where we see the tide turn in Caesar's favour; the battle scene was mildly exciting but it was clearly filmed in a fairly stylised manner to keep the budget down. The way Vorenus and Pullo manage to survive then bump into Pompey does stretch credibility somewhat but as Caesar observes; they must have powerful gods looking after them! The cast does a great job; notably Kenneth Cranham, who is on top form as the defeated Pompey, and David Bamber and Tobias Menzies, who impress as Cicero and Brutus; especially in the scene where they surrender to Caesar. The scenes in Rome might not be strictly essential but they do serve to remind us that news travelled slowly in those days. As the episode ends and Pompey lands in Egypt we get quite a shock. Overall this was another really good episode.

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