Augustus Release Date: 2003 Genre: Drama | History | Romance Director(s): Roger Young (Dracula’s Curse, Jesus, Solomon) Writer(s): Eric Lerner (Kiss the Sky, Bird on the Wire) Starring: Peter O’Toole, Charlotte Rampling and Vittoria Belvedere Augustus is three hours long. Just wanted to put that out there from the very beginning so you know what […]

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Augustus
Release Date: 2003
Genre: Drama | History | Romance
Director(s): Roger Young (Dracula’s Curse, Jesus, Solomon)
Writer(s): Eric Lerner (Kiss the Sky, Bird on the Wire)
Starring: Peter O’Toole, Charlotte Rampling and Vittoria Belvedere

Augustus is three hours long.

Just wanted to put that out there from the very beginning so you know what you’re getting yourself into. Directed by frequent mini-series go-to-guy Roger Young, who has directed a little bit of everything when it comes to the Bible, Augustus has been criticized for being historically inaccurate. Since my Roman history knowledge is limited to a unit in my high school World Cultures class and a college History 103 class that I passed through luck alone, Young could’ve presented Augustus as a black female trying to win in the rap game and I would’ve never known he was presenting inaccuracies.

The film starts off with the old and dying Augustus (O’Toole) asking, “Did I play my part well in this comedy called life?” This sets the course for the film, which is told in a series of flashbacks. It starts off with Augustus as a young man, going by his birth name Gaius Octavius, as he travels to Rome and eventually enlists in his Uncle Julius Caesar’s army. When Julius passes Octavius is named his heir, and after his appointment to the Roman Counsel, he prospers thanks to a relationship with Marc Antony and the power that he acquires.

The first hour and a half or so of the film isn’t exactly A+ stuff. The best of the film follows, as we get the awesome Peter O’Toole as the older Octavius, who has now become Augustus. He’s sick and close to death, and works behind the scenes to convince his daughter Julia to marry Tiberius, the son of his second wife Livia. Livia wants nothing more than for Tiberius to become emperor, and as a result, Julia fears for the safety of her own children.

Unlike Gladiator, the meat of Augustus isn’t in the battle scenes. These represent the weakest parts of the movie. The actors on display are, for the most part, great at what they do. They’re the reason that the script by Eric Lerner translates so well to the screen.

As it goes, Augustus isn’t perfect. Like most mini-series, there are plenty of elements in the movie that don’t really work, and feel like timewasters. In particular is the random homosexual stereotype that seems to only be on screen to waste time. Nonetheless, those who like these kind of period pieces will probably enjoy Augustus even more than I did.
DVD: Barebones.

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Augustus, 6.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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