Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Love That's Willing to Suffer
By Jan McClure

Movie Review of
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Cast: Kit Harington, Emily Browning, Kiefer Sutherland, Adwale Akinnuoye-Agbaje

I thought this film could have been so much more.  The ending reminded me of a remake of the Titanic, except the characters are not developed as well. I thought it would “teach” us a little more about this historic event, however this is Hollywood and the was made only to entertain.  It seemed like every possible special camera effect was used, and there are very long fight scenes.  The movie is rated PG-13 for violence, but it's nice that there isn’t any sexual content. 

The story takes place in 79 A.D. at the base of Mount Vesuvius.  It begins with the last of the horseman clan getting slaughtered by the Romans.  Milo (played by Kit Harington) is the lone survivor, a child.  The movie then jumps ahead several years; Milo is now a young man and a slave.  Cassia (played by Emily Browning), who is one of the daughters of a wealthy merchant, is returning from Rome.  She loves horses, and one of the horses leading their carriage becomes lame and falls.  Milo, walking in chains with other slaves, is nearby and asks if he can help the horse.  With Cassia’s insistence, the guards unshackle him and he puts the horse out of his misery.  Cassia realizes that this was the kindest thing to do, and an unspoken bond is made.

Upon reaching the center of Pompeii, which is a decadent resort town filled with hedonistic pleasures, their carriage gets into a traffic jam.  Cassia and her maidservant and friend jump off the carriage and go giggling through town.  They run across Milo and the rest of the slaves.  They exchange glances.  This part just seemed so unlikely, more like young girls of today going out and about instead of 79 A.D.  Because of this, it took me a while to get back into the time frame and into the movie and its characters.

Milo is very strong, so he is made a gladiator and set to fight the strongest gladiator in the arena, Atticus (played by Adwale Akinnuoye-Agbaje).  They are put in the same cell and they try to learn each other’s weaknesses for Atticus’s final fight, which if he wins will grant him freedom.  Milo points out that he shouldn’t trust the Romans to keep their word about setting him free.

Milo won’t reveal his name to Atticus until he learns that Atticus lost his family to the Romans.  From that moment, they become brothers.  This reminded me of how the blood of Jesus Christ unites us to his sufferings and how through our sufferings we become compassionate people.  The bond that Milo and Atticus form is a love based on a willingness to die for each other and protect each other to the end.

The “love” that Milo and Cassia share isn’t developed in the film and is based more on a “lust” for each other and therefore seems much weaker. 

The rest of the movie is about the eruption of the volcano and their race to try and find safety.  Milo protects Cassia. The scenes, the music and the camera effects become very similar to Jack and Rose’s plight on the Titanic.

Questions for youth groups, families, and other small group discussions (and we hope you will post a comment below!):
  1. How does suffering unite us together?
  2. The Greeks distinguish four types of love: What is the definition of agape love?
  3. Jesus commands us to love one another as he loves us.  Read John 15:13.  Is this your definition of love?

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