Monday, September 12, 2011

Spartacus – blood, sand and sex

I watched the American TV series “Spartacus. Blood and Sand” and its prequel “Gods of the Arena” several weeks ago, but I haven’t wrote about it until now. Just today I’ve read about the lost battle with cancer of the actor Andy Whitfield who played “Spartacus”. Thus someone else will be staring in the next episodes.

Plot in brief: Rome BC. Spartacus is a Thracian warrior. His village is allied with Rome in order to defeat a common enemy. Roman legate Claudius Glaber, who is a commander of troops is a despot not recognizing any objection. One day Spartacus refuses to march further and humiliates the legate. He must flee, he takes his beloved wife and they head south. However, shortly after, they are caught, condemned to slavery and separated. Legate takes Spartacus to his family town Capua in Italy and orders the gladiators to kill him on the urban arena. Thracian defeats enemies and gains the admiration of the crowds that demand grace for him. He is purchased by Quintus Batiatus (excellent John Hannah), an owner of the gladiators school, which sees his talent and rebellious disposition.

One of the scenes of "Spartacus. Blood and Sand"
Subsequent episodes show the path of Spartacus to become a gladiator and a daily life at Batiatus’s school, as well as methods used by powerful Romains to reach the desired goals.
The biggest asset of the film is an interesting scenario, rich in intrigue, love, revenge and friendship, as well as acting. John Hannah as Batiatus and Lucy Lawlee as his wife Lucretia created wonderful performances. Little-known Any Whitfield (Englishman, strictly speaking Welshman, who moved to Australia) as Spartacus also plays very well.
It is without doubt a very brave movie and it should be clearly stated: it’s for adult audience only. Some may feel offended by the scenes full of sex and blood, and really brutal fighting. But… is it not how the life in ancient Rome looked like? Recalling the history lessons and a few books I read about those times, it seems to me that the series shows a lot of truth. I’m not a historian, so I won’t talk big if situations pictured here happened or could have happened. But this is not a historical series. Its first and foremost role is to entertain. And it fulfills this role perfectly. Some scenes seems a bit exaggerated, but it’s a deliberate effect.

Series has 13 episodes. The first was shown in USA in January 2010 by Starz, and in Poland in June 2010 by HBO. A prequel of 6 episodes was also recorded, under the title “Spartacus. Gods of the Arena”.
The second season, “Spartacus. Revenge”, has been scheduled for January 2012. Its action action focuses on the rebellion of the slaves against the Roman republic. Unfortunately it was filmed without the participation of Andy Whitfield. For a year and a half he has struggled with cancer, and he succumbed. He died on Sunday, September 11, at the age of 39. His role has been earlier taken over by Liam McIntyre.

Official website of the series:

Official trailer:


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