|Browning as Cassia and Moss as Aurelia|
|...Will you break my neck if I break my leg, too?|
Cassia: I saw a look in that man's eye tonight, Ariadne. The same look I saw in Rome.
Ariadne: But the senator never laid a hand on you.
Cassia: Only before I left Rome before he could. Now Rome has followed us back to Pompeii...to turn the world inside out.
Not all can escape or foretell the situation in which they may be subjected to rape, but she sees it coming and flees before it can happen. Cassia repeatedly hints that advances were made upon her. When speaking to her mother Aurelia (Carrie-Anne Moss), she notes that since Titus took power, the men in power assume they can take whatever they want.
This all does not, however, hinder her from allowing her father to leave her alone with the senator at her family's party. Cassia knows that she must do as the senator says, or it will mean trouble for her family and her family's plans. She thinks she can handle him herself. Aurelia, on the other hand, thinks she should have a chaperone and begins to go to the balcony. She assures the senator she wants nothing to do with Rome, especially in returning there, but he offers his hand in marriage, which is a great political move on her family's part, but she will not relinquish her dignity, nor her choice. "Senator Corvus, I believe you have mistaken me for the kind of woman who drapes herself across your lap in Rome." But her refusal only makes him want her more. He wants to tame her, to break her. He wants Pompeii.
|Cassia saves Milo from Corvus...again|
Cassia's horse goes crazy, as any animal would before a volcano is about to erupt. Because they see the signs before our dumb asses can. Cassia and Milo bond over horses when he calms her horse down. She rides out with him, for some reason, to the cliffs overlooking the city, only to be pursued. She tells him to escape on horseback, and he declines, knowing full well what the repercussions might be on her. Cassia saves Milo from certain death at the hands of Corvus big shining sword. She can save him, and she can save herself. She refuses to be the typical damsel in distress. When led through the streets of Pompeii, post-eruption by Corvus, she frees herself from shackles. She doesn't wait for Milo to help her. She takes action immediately. Cassia tries to overthrow her captor and later defends Milo as Corvus attack from behind. And when they reach the outskirts of the city and know they can't both make it on one horse, he tells her to ride on without him. She refuses to leave him. So they send the horse off and stay and kiss, solidified in time by fiery ash.
|Senator Corvus (Sutherland) considers his options|
|Aurelia keeps cool while Severus (Harris) wigs out.|
Aurelia not only wants her daughter to be happy, she wants her to be safe. She's the brains behind her marriage and her husband's plans to give Pompeii a much-needed facelift, starting with a new arena, bathhouses and aqueducts. When Severus wonders why Corvus would be taken aback by Severus asking about the new emperor, Aurelia responds, "He's a politician. Be careful what you say to him." She knows. All noble women know. And Severus asks if she thinks if they can do with him. She suggests, "He wouldn't be here if the emperor wasn't interested." Obviously he seeks her wisdom, so he must place great value in her. She holds her head high, face stoic, as he furrows his brow in worry. Unfortunately nothing she does can save them because the senator is such an ass...and also the volcanic eruption that will kill them all.
As the volcano erupts, and Aurelia is trapped beneath rubble, she orders her yet capable husband to kill the unconscious Corvus. But he's not unconscious. He stabs Severus, and Severus and Aurelia die in each others' arms, knowing that their daughter is not safe from Corvus or the volcano. Aurelia tried her best. She could not hold sway if dead, so she stayed alive. She held sway over her own fearful husband in matters of state. She raised her daughter like her, only more outspoken.
These women are examples of what action movies could have for female characters. No, this isn't a great movie, by any means, but it was a great start for women's roles in blockbuster action films. Under better lead actors, the movie would have been more endearing. But even more crucial, under better writing, the movie would been...better.