Julius Caesar (2002)

 

 

Director:  Uli Edel.

Starring:  Jeremy Sisto (Julius Caesar), Richard Harris (Lucius Sulla), Christopher Walken (Marcus Cato), Valeria Golino (Calpurnia), Chris Noth (Pompey), Pamela Bowen (Aurelia), Heino Ferch (Vercingetorix), Tobias Moretti (Caius Cassius), Samuela Sardo (Cleopatra), Daniela Piazza (Cornelia), Nicole Grimaudo (Julia), Sean Pertwee (Labienus), Paolo Briguglia (Marcus Brutus), Kate Steavenson-Payne (Portia), Ian Duncan (Brutus), Christopher Ettridge (Appolonius), Constantine Gregory (Pythias), Jay Rodan (Marc Antony).

 

 

Spoiler Warning:  Below is the entire outline of the film.

82 B.C. Sulla has returned to Rome to establish order (and become dictator).  He publishes a list of outlaws against the state; they may be killed by anyone.

Caesar is a young man at the time with a wife, Cornelia, and a baby girl, Julia.  He finds that his father-in-law's names is one of the supposed outlaws. Caesar helps to get the man out of Rome only for him to be killed outside of Rome by his own servants.  Caesar is arrested.  Sulla intends to kill Caesar, but Pompey helps him escape.  Leaving Rome by boat, Caesar is captured and held for ransom by pirates. 

Sulla dies suddenly of an apparent heart attack.  Caesar finally returns after an absence of two years.  Cornelia dies. 

Years later.  Julia is all grown up.  She and Pompey fall in love.  To give his consent to the marriage, Caesar demands from Pompey 50,000 soldiers and a commission to Gaul.  Pompey agrees and then marries Julia.  Caesar in turn marries Calpurnia. 

In Gaul, Caesar (with 40,000 troops) faces Vercingetorix of the Gauls (with 18,000 men), but there are around 250,000 Gauls coming to the rescue of Vercingetorix.  Caesar lays siege to Vercingetorix, fights off the arriving Gaul reinforcements and forces Vercingetorix to surrender. While Caesar is away from Rome, Julia dies during childbirth along with her infant.

Fearing the man from Gaul, Cato and Pompey strip Caesar of his consulship.   Pompey wanted to strike first at Caesar, but Caesar crosses the Rubicon River and marches on Rome and is made dictator.  He leaves Rome in the hands of his assistant Marc Antony and goes after Pompey and his army in Greece. 

48 B.C.  Caesar enters the camp of Pompey in Pharsalus, Greece.  Pompey has gone alone to Egypt.  Cato went to Utica with the troops. 

When Pompey arrives in Egypt he is killed by his own guard (who were most likely bribed by Parthenus, chief of the ruling council in Egypt).  When Caesar arrives, he is furious to learn of Pompey's death and beheading. 

Cleopatra shows up asking for the protection of Caesar against Parthenus and her brother, Ptolemy.  She seduces Caesar and they form an alliance. 

46 B.C.  Caesar takes Cato's fortress in Utica.  Cato kills himself. 

Calpurnia is mad at her husband for bringing Cleopatra to Egypt.  She is even more shocked when she sees Cleopatra with Caesar's baby. 

Brutus, Cassius and a number of other senators assassinate Caesar to prevent him becoming a king.   

Postscript:  Cassius, Brutus, Marc Antony and Cleopatra all ended up committing suicide.  Augustus (Caesar's successor) had the child by Caesar and Cleopatra killed. 

Good, solid telling of the tale of Julius Caesar. 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.

 

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