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Druids
cast: Christoper Lambert, Max von Sydow, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Inés Sastre, and Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu

director: Jacques Dorfmann

124 minutes (R) 2001
Columbia Tristar DVD Region 1 retail

RATING: 6/10
reviewed by Michael Lohr
First off, let me address a few (yes, more than one made this mistake) North American critics who said that this movie was inaccurate because Gaul Chieftain Vercingetorix did not live at the time of Julius Caesar. I know you were educated in North America but if you don't know history, particularly Gallic and Celtic history, then do not comment on the topic. Yes, this movie is historically accurate. Vercingetorix was one of the greatest Gaul Chieftains ever to challenge the might of Rome. Yes, Vercingetorix fought a protracted war across Gaul with Rome's legions being led by Julius Caesar. Yes, the Germanic tribe known as the Teutons assisted Julius Caesar in his conquest of the Gauls. Yes, Vercingetorix surrendered to Julius Caesar and was taken back to Rome. And yes, Vercingetorix wore a long moustache, as did almost all Gaul men. It was a cultural custom and a sign of virility.
   This movie is in the same epic tradition as Braveheart, Gladiator et al. Druids (filmed in France as Vercingétorix, la Légende du Druide Roi) is a true story of Vercingetorix, the Gallic warrior who united almost 60 Gallic tribes in the war against Caesar. The movie's overall quality cannot compare to those classics, but this is an excellent movie, especially if you are interested in ancient Celtic or Roman history or ancient history in general. The movie was shot in Bulgaria and includes some stunning scenery of that eastern European country.
   Synopsis: in 60 B.C., Vercingetorix (played by Christoper Lambert) is a strong, intelligent Gallic chieftain with a legacy to protect his fellow druids in Gaul. But when Julius Caesar (Klaus Maria Brandauer) and his Roman army declare war, Vercingetorix has no choice but to fight. Reunited with his childhood love and leading the now unified Gallic tribes, Vercingetorix prepares them for the battle of their lives. Historical footnote: the revolt ended in the battle of Alesia, where 50,000 of Caesar's legionnaires and an untold number of Teutonic cavalry defeated two Celtic armies numbering at least 160,000.
   Except for a very choppy beginning, which can be blamed on the editing process, this is a movie worth renting. If, like me, you are a collector of such historical motion pictures, then by all means purchase Druids. Note of interest: science fiction novelist Norman Spinrad co-wrote the screenplay. The movie was an inspiration behind the cartoon Asterix And Obelix.
   DVD extras: choice of pan-and-scan or widescreen anamorphic versions with English, Chinese, Korean, and Thai language subtitles, interactive menus, scene access and the original movie trailer.
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