Pompeii. 2014. Canada/Germany/USA. Directed by Paul W. S. Anderson. 105 min.
One of the few remaining masters of the well-crafted, unpretentious genre film, Paul W. S. Anderson (not to be confused with his art-house namesake) has long been laboring in the tradition of directors like Don Siegel and Richard Fleischer, creating superlative work from disreputable sources (such as his Resident Evil series, originally based on a video game). His latest film draws on the tradition of the Italian sword-and-sandals film, with a touch of Titanic's class-conscious romance. The situations may be familiar and the dialogue sometimes trite, but Anderson’s gift for creating clear, sweeping movement across coherent spaces—captured here in fully articulated 3-D—gives his action sequences an impact and integrity missing from too many of Hollywood’s ADHD blockbusters. Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones) is the Celtic gladiator who finds himself in Pompeii on one eventful day; Emily Browning is the child of privilege who shares his love of horses. Courtesy of Sony Pictures.