Sack of Rome, The (One 7 Movies)
Director - Fabio Bonzi
Cast - Franco Nero, Vittoria Belvedere
Country of Origin - Italy
Discs - 1
Distributor - One 7 Movies
Reviewer - Mike Kenny
Date - 10/23/13
The Film (3.5/5)
One 7 Movies presents the iconic Franco Nero in a rare joint production from Italy and Russia in “The Sack of Rome”. This historical drama from 1993 depicts the Sack of Rome where heinous events destroyed a city and pitted a remarkable artist with living hell right before his eyes. Nero is accompanied by the beautiful Vittoria Belvedere in this is painfully tragic yet beautiful picture.
“The Sack of Rome” takes place in Rome 1527 where the German mercenaries and the Sack of Rome has begun. Renowned painter Gabriele da Poppi (Franco Nero) believes that due to his status as an accomplished artist, the impending war will not affect him. Unfortunately, the mercenaries take over his studio and rape his lover and muse, Gesunia (Vittoria Belvedere) as well as murder her brother. The tragedy that befalls on da Poppi makes him question his own feelings on art and life.
Without having much expectation beyond Franco Nero headlining, “The Sack of Rome” was a pleasant viewing surprise. Nero commands the screen in every scene he is in and makes you truly sympathize with his historic character. The immunity he feels to the war only to have his world turned upside down is riveting to watch as it is painful. The barbaric nature of the mercenaries destroying the city as well murdering countless people is horrifying and quite violent at times. The most unsettling moments for da Poppi is when he has to witness his beautiful lover repeatedly raped and then having to obey orders to paint portraits for the perpetrator. Through all the darkness, Nero’s character begins to reflect on his own feelings about art and how it is more intertwined with life then he ever realized. The stunning Vittoria Belvedere is a true sight of beauty and conveys so much emotion with so little dialogue. The film kept me arrested but unfortunately concludes far too abruptly with little explanation in regards to scenes that suggested a peace treaty between the two sides being reached. Ultimately, that plot device ends with the Pope demanding that money be granted to repair all the damages to Rome but the audience never learns anything past that. In addition, Gesuina, in a final moment of sexual bliss with her perpetrator, finally murders him begging the question why she wouldn’t have acted accordingly much sooner considering all the “private time” they were sharing. “The Sack of Rome” draws you into its tragic storytelling and commanding performances by Nero and Belvedere but nearly falls apart in the finale by delivering a less than satisfying ending.
Where to begin?... One 7 Movies presents “The Sack of Rome” in a 1:33:1 (4x3) aspect ratio. The film appears to be tape sourced from a severely scratched film print. In short, the film looks absolutely appalling. Scratches and debris are found in every frame while colors looks fuzzy and drained. There were also several moments where the film lost all color for a brief second. In addition, there were moments where it seemed the disc glitched, as if scratched, but it actually appears to be an authoring issue. One has to wonder what kind of quality control was put into this disc? “The Sack of Rome” easily has one of the worst video presentations I have seen in a very long time.
Thankfully, the 2.0 Dolby Digital track is decent enough where the Italian dialogue is clear as can it be. Hisses and pops make their fair share of appearances but nothing that’s too imposing. English subtitles are also provided.
- Still Gallery
OVERALL (2.5/5 )
“The Sack of Rome” was a tragic tale that was so engaging thanks to the terrific performances from the iconic Franco Nero and the beautiful Vittoria Belvedere. The horror and dismay that the characters are presented with is troubling but the evolution of Nero’s character is the true driving force of the film. Unfortunately, the film’s ending doesn’t leave the viewer as satisfied, cheating the film out of being a truly great picture. The film still does come recommended but One 7 Movies’ presentation is so atrocious that it might just take away from the viewing experience and sadly will weigh this review down. Every issue in the book plagues the video presentation from severe scratches all the way to authoring issues. While, “The Sack of Rome” isn’t exactly a bonafide masterpiece, it certainly deserves way better than this.