The usually genteel Brits tackle their ancestral wars with a pronounced vengeance in this made-for-TV historical drama.
In the first century A.D., Roman Emperor Claudius (Jack Shepherd) seeks to consolidate his power in the provinces of Briton. A smooth politician, he exploits the peace-loving instincts of tribal King Prasutagus (Steven Waddington). Unlike Prasutagus' Queen Boudica (Alex Kingston), his Druidic high priest Magior (Gary Lewis) and his barbarian generals, the once-fierce Iceni king is so weary of war that he allows the Romans to chip away at his tribe's sovereignty. After Claudius requests the storage of Iceni grain in Roman elevators, he suggests that Prasutagus supply Rome with "volunteer laborers." Rome's encroachment gets kicked up a notch after Prasutagus's untimely death. A bereft Boudica ascends the throne, and Claudius' ambitious nephew Nero (Andrew Lee Potts) poisons his uncle. Uninterested in appeasement, Emperor Nero orders Catus (Steven John Shepherd), his ambassador in Briton, to carry off slaves. When Boudica visits Catus’ camp in protest, he orders his soldiers to flog her and to gang rape her daughters Isolda (Emily Blunt) and Siora (Leanne Rowe). But Nero has underestimated Boudica’s resolve and her thirst for revenge. A sneak attack on Catus' troops proves victorious and Boudica’s men burn down a Roman-held city. Striking an alliance with other so-called savage tribes, Boudica marches to the fortress of London. Learning how to control the factions in her command, Boudica battles Roman legions as they’ve never been battled and the stage is set for the fall of the Roman Empire.
Balancing power plays with crises of conscience, scriptwriter Andrew Davies reinvigorates the epic-film stereotype. Although Davies' slangy dialogue is sometimes distracting, director Bill Anderson guides the cast over the anachronisms to deliver a ferocious retelling of the birth of Great Britain.
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- Released: 2004
- Rating: NR
- Review: The usually genteel Brits tackle their ancestral wars with a pronounced vengeance in this made-for-TV historical drama. In the first century A.D., Roman Emperor Claudius (Jack Shepherd) seeks to consolidate his power in the provinces of Briton. A smooth… (more)