Sunday, December 4, 2011

Family Values

I recently watched the Canal+ miniseries Borgia: Faith and Fear on Netflix. This series is not to be confused with the Showtime series starring Jeremy Irons. But I'll safely say without having seen the Showtime series, the Canal+ series beats it hands down.

This series plops us into the middle of Rome in 1493. It's a time of intrigue and shifting loyalties all around. Priests, cardinals, and bishops during this time were attracted to women and they not only slept openly with then, they had children by them, and they actively promoted their children to positions in the church.

With the impending death of one pope, Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, played brilliantly by John Doman, plots and schemes his way to the papal throne. He uses anyone and everyone around him to get what he wants. He pimps out his daughter, he pits his sons against one another, and he uses other cardinals like they are his pawns. After his ascension to the papacy he uses kings and queens to do his bidding, with mixed results. As you expect all his machinations and double dealing come back to bite him on the ass and by the end of the series he gets what is coming to him.

I found this 12 episode series to be an over the top brilliant, gripping piece of work. Doman, Marta Gastini, Isolde Dychauck, Art Mailk, Dejan Cukic, Assumpta Serna, and Mark Ryder are all very very good in their roles.

The story line and most all of the acting in this show is very good but I did have a few problems with it. Since it was filmed in Europe, primarily for a European audience, many European actors were cast and their accents clashed at times. I know, I know, I'm petty to complain about someone's English accent when English is their second or third language, but there you go. Some of the characters were hard at times to understand, especially the kid who played Juan Borgia. Another thing that bothered me was the anachronisms. At one point Pope Borgia tells a woman she will be banished to a city fifty kilometers from Rome. The only problem with that statement is there was no such thing as a kilometer back in 1493, the metric system had not been invented yet and it would not be invented for another 300 plus years.

But all in all, those two things that I didn't like pale in comparison to what I did like. I loved most all of the performances, the look of the show, the music, the realism, the beautiful women, and the multi dimensional characters. Since this show was produced for the European market, there is a fair amount of nudity and lots of talk about sex. Violence also abounds, so be aware but don't let either of those things keep you from watching this great show.

I highly recommend this show and if you have Netflix streaming and don't watch it, I'm going to excommunicate you.

1 comment:

kirby said...

The figure in purple looks like the brown haired woman from Muriel's Wedding, Rachael something or other.