The Last Days of Pompeii

Kiefer Pompeii

What if I told you that the people of Pompeii had it coming? That the whole city was a moral cesspool and the eruption of Vesuvius was a final judgment on a corrupt society? You would probably object on grounds of basic human decency, and you’d be right. But I’m not the one that thinks so. That would be Hollywood. There aren’t very many movies about the destruction of Pompeii, but the handful that exist share something quite objectively strange. Paul W.S. Anderson‘s fiery dud is only the newest example of this genre, a disaster movie in which the audience is invited to find moral satisfaction in the flames. With Pompeii it isn’t quite so obvious, but I’d argue that’s just because the script is terrible and doesn’t know exactly how to express what it’s going for. You have to look at it in the context of the earlier, more explicitly judgmental Vesuvius flicks to get at the heart of Anderson’s shabby muddle.

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