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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | July 12, 2020

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Pompeii: One hot dude, a small battle, large serve of Lava

Pompeii: One hot dude, a small battle, large serve of Lava

| On 02, Apr 2014

Do you like abs? How do you feel about sweaty biceps? I’m not talking about exercise – ew, gross. I’m talking about Pompeii, the latest film starring total babe Kit Harington.

 

Harington drops the Jon Snow furs (oh yeah) for the leather skirts and chic sandals of the gladiator, Milo.

 

After a weird first encounter with Cassia (Australia’s Emily Browning), where Milo snaps a horse’s neck with his bare hands, the pair run into each other at a Pompeian festival banquet. Just like Jack and Rose on the Titanic, she’s an uptown girl and he’s from the wrong side of the tracks, but after a steaming look across the room and yet another random scene with a horse, it’s clear that they’re in love.

Star crossed lovers, Cassia and Milo – image by movies.about.com

 

Milo and Cassia’s relationship is a tad problematic because she’s betrothed to the Roman tyrant Corvus (Kiefer Sutherland), who also happens to be the guy who killed Milo’s family. I know right, what are the chances!

 

Kiefer Sutherland’s character is very confusing, and is one of many disappointing performances in Pompeii. Sutherland adopts a weird British accent, which you can’t take seriously, and he does a whole lot of weird things with his face and hands. The overall effect lies somewhere between Serverus Snape and a Dame Edna, which is probably not where he wanted to end up.

 

Cut it out Kiefer – image by allvoices.com

 

Aussie Emily Browning doesn’t do herself or the film any favours with her performance either. Whether it be the stilted script or her awkward reading of it that’s to blame, the chemistry between Cassia and Milo is  lukewarm, saved only by Milo’s puppy-dog eyes and the ridiculous build up to their first kiss.

 

Love triangle aside, the main character of the story is, in a way, Mt Vesuvius. Smouldering away for the first portion of the film, Mt Vesuvius arrives at the party just in time to doom the entire population to an ashy death.

 

Amidst the chaos of imminent eruption, Milo must fight off the Romans, find his beloved, and figure out a way to escape certain death. He’s got a lot on his plate. Much like Milo, Pompeii bites off a little more than it can chew. The film attempts to straddle the genres of action, romance, disaster and historical drama, but ends up floating awkwardly in the middle, lacking depth in every area except action.

 

The absence of historical focus results in a fair few silly plot holes. I mean, it’s raining ash and they’re walking about like it’s totally fine. To quote the esteemed Courtney Love, ‘I’m no expert’, but I’m pretty sure ash is hot and gross, and if it’s raining ash you’re probably going to look like Gollum as opposed to some sort of princess.

 

Let’s just take a moment to appreciate this – image by eonline.com

 

On the other hand, the costume department knew exactly what they were doing with the character of Milo. They literally draped some leather over our mate Kit Harington, doused him in body oil and congratulated themselves on successfully luring thousands of women into cinemas.

 

While we’re here frothing Kit, let’s bring up the aforementioned kiss. I won’t spoil it for you, but I will say that it’s the singular high point in the film, and makes the hour and 30 minutes of sub-par dialogue worthwhile. I’d go so far as to say it’s one of the best movie kisses I’ve seen in a long time, and I’d gladly watch the film again (on mute) just for that scene.

 

Pompeii might not be the best film you see this year, in fact it might be one of the worst, but it’s definitely something you need to see. If not for the abs, then perhaps for the biceps, or the hair, or the quads, or the eyes, and I guess maybe even the story as well.

 

Pompeii is in cinemas now.