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Scene 1 -  Encounter on the Road
FADE IN: EXT. FOREST - DAY

Germania. The far reaches of the Roman Empire.

Winter 180 A.D. Incongruously enough, the first sound we hear
is a beautiful tenor voice. Singing. A boy's voice.

CREDITS as we hear the haunting song float through dense
forests. We finally come to a rough, muddy road slashing
through the forest. On the road a GERMAN PEASANT FATHER is
herding along three sickly looking cows. His two SONS are
with him. His youngest son sits on one of the cows and sings
a soft, plaintive song.

They become aware of another sound behind them on the road --
the creak of wood, the slap of metal on leather. The Father
immediately leads his cattle and his sons off the road. They
stand-still, eyes down: the familiar posture of subjugated
peoples throughout history.

A wagon train rumbles past them. Three ornate wagons
followed by a mounted cohort of fifty heavily-armed
PRAETORIAN GUARDS.

The young boy dares to glance up at the passing Romans. His
eyes burn with hatred.


INT. WAGON - DAY

Mist momentarily obscures a man's face. Frozen breath. The
man is in his 20's, imperious and handsome. He is swathed in
fur, only his face exposed. He is COMMODUS.

He glances up.

COMMODUS
Do you think he's really dying?

The woman across from him returns his gaze evenly. She is
slightly older, beautiful and patrician. A formidable woman.

She is LUCILLA.

LUCILLA
He's been dying for ten years.

COMMODUS
I think he's really dying this
time.

A beat. Their breath turns instantly to mist.
2.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
He has to be bled every night now.

LUCILLA
How do you know that?

COMMODUS
I've been so informed.

She arches an eyebrow.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
If he weren't really dying he
wouldn't have sent for us.

LUCILLA
(a smile)
Maybe he just misses us.

COMMODUS
And the Senators. He wouldn't have
summoned them if --

LUCILLA
Peace, Commodus. After two weeks
on the road your incessant scheming
is hurting my head.

A beat.

COMMODUS
The first thing I shall do is honor
him with games worthy of his
majesty.

LUCILLA
The first thing I shall do is have
a hot bath.

The wagon rumbles to a halt. Voices are heard outside.
Commodus leaps out...
Genres: ["Historical","Drama"]

Summary On a muddy road in Germania, a German peasant family encounters a wagon train of Roman Praetorian Guards. The young boy stares at the Romans with hatred. Inside one of the wagons, Commodus and Lucilla discuss their father's health. Commodus speculates that he is near death and plans to honor him with games, while Lucilla is more skeptical. The scene ends with Commodus leaping out of the wagon.
Strengths
  • Strong character dynamics
  • Intriguing setup of conflicts
  • Sharp dialogue
Weaknesses
  • Potential for further character development
  • Plot could be more tightly woven

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively establishes the historical context, introduces key characters, and sets up potential conflicts, creating intrigue and tension for the audience.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of power dynamics, political intrigue, and familial relationships is well-developed and sets a strong foundation for the rest of the story.

Plot: 7

The plot is intriguing with hints of power struggles and impending conflict, but it could be further developed to enhance the narrative tension.

Originality: 9

The scene introduces a fresh take on historical drama by focusing on the internal conflicts and power struggles within the Roman Empire. The characters' actions and dialogue feel authentic and add depth to the narrative.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters of Commodus and Lucilla are well-defined through their dialogue and actions, showcasing their complex relationship and individual motivations.

Character Changes: 6

While there are hints of character development, particularly in Commodus and Lucilla's relationship, more significant changes could enhance the scene's impact.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal is to assert his authority and prove his worthiness as a leader in the eyes of his family and the Roman Senate.

External Goal: 7.5

The protagonist's external goal is to plan and execute grand games to honor the dying emperor and secure his own position of power.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

The scene establishes multiple layers of conflict, including political, familial, and societal tensions, adding depth to the story.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with conflicting goals and hidden agendas that create uncertainty and suspense.

High Stakes: 7

The high stakes are subtly hinted at through the power dynamics and political intrigue, setting the stage for potential conflicts and betrayals.

Story Forward: 8

The scene effectively sets up the story's premise, introduces key characters, and hints at future conflicts, moving the narrative forward.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the shifting power dynamics and the characters' conflicting motivations.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

The philosophical conflict is between Commodus' ambition and Lucilla's pragmatism. Commodus seeks to use the emperor's illness for his own gain, while Lucilla is more concerned with practical matters and maintaining stability.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 7

The scene evokes a sense of foreboding and tension, setting the emotional tone for the rest of the story.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is sharp, revealing character dynamics and underlying tensions effectively.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of the dynamic interactions between the characters, the high stakes involved, and the underlying tension.

Pacing: 8.5

The pacing of the scene is effective in building tension and maintaining the audience's interest through well-timed dialogue and action.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The scene follows the expected formatting for a screenplay, with clear scene headings, character names, and dialogue formatting.

Structure: 8

The scene follows the expected structure for a historical drama, with a clear introduction of the setting, characters, and conflicts.


Critique
  • The scene sets up the historical context effectively with the German peasant family and the Roman Praetorian Guards passing by, establishing the tension between the two cultures.
  • The dialogue between Commodus and Lucilla provides insight into their characters and their relationship, but it could be more dynamic and engaging.
  • There is a lack of visual description in the scene, making it feel a bit static. Adding more sensory details could enhance the atmosphere and immerse the audience in the setting.
  • The transition from the exterior forest setting to the interior of the wagon could be smoother to avoid a jarring shift in location.
  • The scene could benefit from more action or conflict to create a stronger hook for the audience and propel the story forward.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more visual and sensory details to bring the setting to life and engage the audience.
  • Work on making the dialogue between Commodus and Lucilla more dynamic and revealing of their characters.
  • Explore ways to create a smoother transition between different locations within the scene.
  • Introduce a stronger element of conflict or tension to hook the audience and drive the narrative forward.



Scene 2 -  Preparations for Battle and Imperial Impatience
EXT. WAGON - OUTPOST - DAY

Three Roman SOLDIERS guard an outpost, a watchtower, on the
roadside.

COMMODUS
Why have we stopped?

PRAETORIAN GUARD MEMBER
We're here, sir.
3.

COMMODUS
(to Soldier #1)
Where is my father?

SOLDIER #1
He's at the front, sir.

COMMODUS
Is the battle won?

SOLDIER #1
Don't know, sir. They've been gone
for eight days.

Commodus tosses off his furs -- beneath them he wears a
beautiful set of Lorica Segmentata -- the traditional formed
armor of Rome. He moves to a horse as:

COMMODUS
(to Soldier #1)
My sister wants a bath, take her to
the camp.
(to Soldier #2)
Take me to my father.

He leaps onto the horse and canters back to the Praetorian
Guard unit.

Soldier #2 climbs on his horse and leads them. Commodus
rides off with most of the Praetorian Guard unit.

Lucilla peeks her head from the wagon. She glances at the
remaining soldiers. Distinctly unpromising.

LUCILLA
(dry)
Civilization at last. Gods
preserve us.


EXT. HILL - TWILIGHT

The mighty catapults dwarf the humans. Soldiers from the
elite Felix Regiment -- a legion of the Roman Army -- haul
the monstrous machines up a hill.

The commanding General of the Felix Regiment, MAXIMUS, walks
between two of the catapults. He is a striking and intense
man in his 30's. Like all the soldiers who surround him, he
is caked with mud and exhausted.

He trudges up the hill with his two lieutenants, TITUS and
QUINTUS.
4.

TITUS
You would do as well to read the
mind of a rhinoceros.

QUINTUS
These barbarians would rather drown
in blood than yield an inch. If I
didn't hate them so much I would
admire them.

They have reached the top of the hill. Stunning martial
preparations are underway. The catapults join ten others.
Archers are taking up position. Brutal "Scorpions" --
devices for firing multiple crossbow bolts -- are being
loaded. Soldiers are also loading the catapults with
enormous "Greek fire pots" -- large, round terra cotta pots.

Maximus and his lieutenants gaze down from the hilltop. Below
them they can see a German encampment.

TITUS
They simply will not surrender.

A beat as Maximus gazes down at the German position.

MAXIMUS
(quietly)
A people should know when they are
conquered.

A beat.

MAXIMUS (cont’d)
At the first signal release the
catapults. We'll use the cavalry
to cut off the retreat.

QUINTUS
General, I don't recommend that.
Our cavalry might be caught in the
flames.

MAXIMUS
I hope not, because I'm going to be
leading them.

A beat as he gazes down at the enemy.

MAXIMUS (cont’d)
Why don't they know they're already
dead?
5.
Genres: ["Historical","War","Drama"]

Summary Amidst a Roman outpost, Commodus, the arrogant emperor, demands updates on his father and the battle's progress. Meanwhile, General Maximus prepares for an assault on a German encampment, planning to utilize catapults, archers, and a cavalry charge led by himself, despite warnings from his subordinates.
Strengths
  • Intense atmosphere
  • Effective setup for upcoming conflict
  • Strong character motivations
Weaknesses
  • Limited character development
  • Some dialogue could be more impactful

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively sets the tone for the upcoming battle, establishes the characters' motivations, and builds anticipation for the conflict.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of preparing for battle and the strategic decisions made by the Roman General are well-executed and crucial to the development of the story.

Plot: 8

The plot advances as the Romans prepare for battle, setting the stage for the upcoming conflict and establishing the stakes for the characters.

Originality: 9

The scene offers a fresh perspective on ancient Roman warfare, with detailed descriptions of military tactics and equipment, as well as nuanced character interactions and philosophical dilemmas.


Character Development

Characters: 7

The characters, especially General Maximus, are portrayed with determination and resolve, setting up their roles in the upcoming battle.

Character Changes: 6

While there is not significant character development in this scene, the determination and resolve of General Maximus are highlighted.

Internal Goal: 8

Commodus' internal goal is to assert his authority and leadership in the face of uncertainty and potential danger. This reflects his desire for power and control, as well as his fear of failure or weakness.

External Goal: 9

Maximus' external goal is to defeat the barbarians and secure victory for Rome in battle. This reflects the immediate challenge he faces as a general leading his troops into war.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict between the Romans and the Germans is imminent, and the preparations for battle heighten the tension and stakes.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with conflicting viewpoints among the characters, the threat of battle with the barbarians, and the internal struggles of the protagonists.

High Stakes: 9

The high stakes of the upcoming battle are clearly established, adding tension and urgency to the scene.

Story Forward: 8

The scene effectively moves the story forward by setting up the upcoming battle and establishing the stakes for the characters.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the shifting dynamics between characters, the uncertainty of the outcome of the battle, and the moral ambiguity of the decisions being made.

Philosophical Conflict: 8

The philosophical conflict in this scene is between the Roman belief in conquest and dominance over other civilizations, and the barbarians' refusal to surrender and their willingness to fight to the death. This challenges Maximus' values of honor and duty as a soldier, as well as his understanding of the nature of war and conquest.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 7

The scene evokes a sense of foreboding and anticipation, setting the stage for the emotional impact of the upcoming battle.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue effectively conveys the seriousness and intensity of the situation, as well as the characters' motivations and strategies.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its intense action, dramatic dialogue, and moral dilemmas that keep the audience invested in the characters and their fates.

Pacing: 9

The pacing of the scene is effective in building tension and suspense, with a gradual escalation of conflict and a climactic decision that propels the story forward.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The scene follows the expected formatting for a screenplay, with proper scene headings, character names, and dialogue formatting.

Structure: 9

The scene follows the expected structure for a historical drama, with clear character introductions, rising tension, and a climactic decision that sets up future conflict.


Critique
  • The scene lacks a clear sense of urgency or tension, considering the context of a battle and the presence of the Roman soldiers guarding an outpost.
  • The dialogue feels somewhat flat and lacks depth, especially in the interaction between Commodus and the soldiers. It could be more engaging and revealing of the characters' personalities.
  • The transition between the German peasant family scene and this outpost scene is abrupt and could be smoother to maintain the flow of the story.
  • There is a missed opportunity to build suspense and anticipation for the upcoming battle, as well as to establish the stakes and motivations of the characters involved.
  • The visual descriptions could be more vivid and immersive to create a stronger sense of the setting and atmosphere.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more conflict and tension in the dialogue to make the scene more engaging.
  • Work on improving the pacing and transitions between scenes to maintain a cohesive narrative flow.
  • Enhance the visual descriptions to create a more vivid and immersive setting for the readers.
  • Explore ways to build anticipation for the upcoming battle and establish the characters' motivations more clearly.
  • Consider adding layers to the characters' interactions to make them more dynamic and revealing of their personalities.



Scene 3 -  The Battle of the Forest
EXT. TREES - TWILIGHT

Maximus and Titus are on their horses, the cavalry of two
hundred Felix Regiment warriors surrounds them. Steam flares
from their horses' nostrils. They wait in a thick stand of
trees -- the German position can be seen across a muddy
plain.

A large wolf -- "The Wolf of Rome" -- waits at Maximus' side.

Maximus nods to an archer. The archer lights the tip of an
arrow and sends it flaming into the night sky.


EXT. HILLTOP - TWILIGHT

Quintus waits. The catapults are loaded and waiting. So too
the Scorpions. So too the 200 archers of the Felix Regiment.

He sees the flaming arrow flying up from below.

QUINTUS
Now!

The mighty catapults are released. The Greek fire pots arc
dramatically through the air. A moment later soldiers
release the Scorpions and hundreds of bolts streak through
the sky. The archers fire a murderous barrage of flaming
arrows.


EXT. TREES - TWILIGHT

The screaming is almost immediate.

Maximus and his cavalry watch as the fire pots crash down
into the German encampment.


EXT. GERMAN CAMP - TWILIGHT

The fire pots shatter -- pitch splashes everywhere -- seconds
later the bolts and flaming arrows slice down and ignite the
pitch -- FLAME EXPLODES -- it is a hellish, napalm-like
vision -- the conflagration illuminating the twilight.

The deadly rain of flaming arrows spreads terror through the
German camp --
6.


EXT. TREES - TWILIGHT

Maximus watches the German camp.

MAXIMUS
(to his men)
Hold steady... steady...

He can see the nightmare destruction of the encampment
continuing -- fire pots and Scorpion bolts and flaming arrows
-- panic in the German encampment.

MAXIMUS (cont’d)
Steady...

He sees the Germans begin fleeing across the plain. He
quickly raises his sword and whispers a prayer, then turns to
his men:

MAXIMUS (cont’d)
Brothers -- I salute you! For
Rome!

He spurs his horse and races out of the trees to the plain...


EXT. PLAIN - BATTLEGROUND - TWILIGHT

Maximus leads the terrifying and relentless cavalry charge --
Titus at his side -- the Felix Regiment screams out fearsome
war cries as they gallop across the muddy plain toward the
Germans --

Fire pots and flaming arrows are crashing down everywhere
around them --

The cavalry SLAMS into the Germans at full gallop --

It is carnage.

The Felix Regiment warriors slash ruthlessly with short
swords -- slicing a path of sheer destruction through the
Germans -- but the Germans fight with equal brutality -- and
the Germans also fight with the desperation of a hopeless
last chance -- they pull and spear Roman soldiers off horses
whenever they can --

Maximus spins his horse and swings his sword with expert
efficiency -- a spear stabs through the neck of his horse and
it immediately collapses forward --
7.

Maximus sails over the horse's head and crashes to the muddy
ground -- he jumps up and is in the midst of the battle --

The flaming arrows and exploding fire pots create a ferocious
inferno everywhere around the battle -- the flames
silhouetting the fighting --

On the ground, Maximus proves his absolute worth as a warrior
-- he hacks and dodges -- ghastly images of true ancient
warfare -- Maximus' eyes burn with a zealous fire as he
fights for his life --

He finds he is momentarily at a terrible disadvantage --
Germans are surrounding him from all sides -- as he fights he
looks for an advantage -- for his soldiers -- for anything --
he is doomed --

Then -- an almost mystical image -- Maximus' wolf leaps
through a wall of flame --

"The Wolf of Rome" savages several Germans around Maximus --
giving him the help he needed.

The wolf and his master fight, side-by-side.


EXT. HILLTOP - TWILIGHT

We see an old man's face, staring down at the battle. The
face is weather-beaten, ailing. The roaring flames from the
battlefield below flicker in his sad eyes.

MARCUS AURELIUS, the Emperor of Rome, is on a horse. A metal
brace extends from the back of his saddle. He is strapped to
the brace with thick, leather straps.

He watches as the Felix Regiment below concludes the battle.
The cheering of the Regiment can be heard as the final,
isolated pockets of Germans are cut down.

Behind Marcus the sun is setting, painting the world blood
red.


EXT. BATTLEFIELD - SUNSET

Maximus, bloody and spent, walks through the aftermath of the
carnage. The Wolf of Rome is at his side. Dead and dying by
the hundreds are scattered everywhere. Roman surgeons are
attending to the wounded.

Marcus walks to him, embraces him warmly.
8.

MAXIMUS
Caesar.

MARCUS
Maximus, you prove your valor
again. Let us hope for the final
time here.

MAXIMUS
I don't think there's anyone left
to fight.

MARCUS
There are always people left to
fight...

Marcus takes Maximus' arm and they walk through the masses of
bodies. Maximus holds Marcus' arm firmly, quietly supporting
him as they walk.

MARCUS (cont’d)
But this night, at least, Germania
is at last defeated... What will
you do now, my friend?

MAXIMUS
Should Caesar permit, I'll go home.
I've been away too long. I've
forgotten my wife's face and I
barely know my son.

Suddenly, a tethered GERMAN PRISONER they are passing calls
out to them:

GERMAN PRISONER
THIS BLOOD MEANS NOTHING,
CONQUEROR!

Maximus and Marcus stop. A soldier moves quickly to silence
the German Prisoner.

MARCUS
(to Soldier)
Stop...
(to Prisoner)
... You speak our language?

GERMAN PRISONER
You have been in my homeland for
twelve years. Of course I speak
your language. So did my son, who
you murdered. So did my daughter,
who you raped.
9.

MAXIMUS
(to Marcus)
Come, Caesar...

MARCUS
No. Let him speak...
(to Prisoner)
... I am Rome, what would you say
to me?

GERMAN PRISONER
(points to sunset)
You are that sun, Rome, and your
time is over... You can slit a
thousand throats here, and you can
put a thousand babies to the sword,
but it will always be our home.

MARCUS
Now it is Rome.

GERMAN PRISONER
It will never be Rome. Not as long
as one German breathes.

The soldier moves to kill the insolent Prisoner.

MARCUS
No... Release him. Give him safe
passage. Let him go to his family.

The soldier leads the German Prisoner away.

Maximus and Marcus continue walking in silence for a beat.
Then:

MARCUS (cont’d)
Tell me again, Maximus, why are we
here?

MAXIMUS
For the glory of the empire, sire.

MARCUS
(quietly)
Yes. I remember.

They continue walking through the mountains of bodies...
10.
Genres: ["Historical","War","Drama"]

Summary Maximus and his cavalry attack the German encampment, resulting in a bloody battle. Maximus fights valiantly and emerges victorious with the help of Marcus Aurelius. A captured German predicts Rome's downfall, but Marcus releases him. Maximus expresses his desire to return home, and the scene ends with Marcus and Maximus surveying the battlefield.
Strengths
  • Intense battle sequences
  • Emotional depth
  • Complex characters
  • Impactful dialogue
Weaknesses
  • Some cliched dialogue
  • Predictable character arcs

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene is highly engaging, combining action-packed battle scenes with emotional depth and character development. The dialogue is impactful and the stakes are high, keeping the audience invested throughout.


Story Content

Concept: 9

The concept of a decisive battle in a war-torn setting, combined with personal interactions between characters, is executed effectively. The scene effectively conveys the themes of loyalty, sacrifice, and the consequences of war.

Plot: 9

The plot is well-developed, with a clear progression from the preparation for battle to the aftermath. The conflict is intense and drives the narrative forward, leading to a satisfying resolution.

Originality: 9

The scene offers a fresh approach to the familiar theme of war, presenting complex characters, moral dilemmas, and unexpected twists in the narrative. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds to the originality.


Character Development

Characters: 8

The characters are well-defined and their interactions add depth to the scene. Maximus and Marcus Aurelius stand out as strong, complex characters with conflicting motivations and beliefs.

Character Changes: 8

Maximus undergoes a transformation during the scene, from a skilled warrior to a compassionate leader. His interactions with Marcus Aurelius and the German Prisoner reveal different facets of his character.

Internal Goal: 9

Maximus' internal goal is to prove his worth as a warrior and leader, seeking validation and recognition for his skills and loyalty to Rome.

External Goal: 8

Maximus' external goal is to defeat the German army and secure victory for Rome in the battle.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict in the scene is intense and drives the action forward. The battle sequences create a sense of urgency and danger, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with the German warriors posing a significant threat to the Roman army, creating suspense and uncertainty in the outcome of the battle.

High Stakes: 9

The stakes in the scene are incredibly high, with the outcome of the battle determining the fate of the characters and the empire. The personal sacrifices made by the characters add to the tension and drama.

Story Forward: 9

The scene moves the story forward significantly, with the resolution of the battle and the aftermath setting the stage for future events. The stakes are high, and the outcome has far-reaching consequences for the characters and the empire.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable due to the unexpected twists in character interactions, moral dilemmas, and the outcome of the battle, keeping the audience on edge.

Philosophical Conflict: 8

The philosophical conflict is between the Roman belief in the glory of the empire and the German warrior's belief in defending their homeland at all costs. This challenges Maximus' loyalty to Rome and his understanding of the consequences of war.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes a range of emotions, from excitement during the battle sequences to sadness and reflection in the aftermath. The personal interactions between characters add emotional depth to the narrative.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is impactful and reveals the characters' inner thoughts and emotions. It effectively conveys the themes of loyalty, honor, and the inevitability of change.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its intense action, emotional character moments, and high stakes of the battle, keeping the audience invested in the outcome.

Pacing: 9

The pacing of the scene is well-crafted, with a balance of action, dialogue, and character moments, maintaining tension and momentum throughout.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of the scene is well-executed, with proper scene headings, action descriptions, and dialogue formatting, adhering to industry standards for screenplay format.

Structure: 9

The scene follows the expected structure for a war/battle genre, with clear transitions between locations, well-paced action sequences, and effective character interactions.


Critique
  • The scene effectively sets up the anticipation and tension for the upcoming battle, with the cavalry of the Felix Regiment waiting in the trees and the German position across the muddy plain.
  • The use of visual elements such as the steam flaring from the horses' nostrils and the flaming arrow adds to the dramatic atmosphere of the scene.
  • The transition from the trees to the hilltop where Quintus is waiting and the subsequent release of the catapults, Scorpions, and archers is well-paced and builds momentum.
  • The description of the carnage and chaos during the cavalry charge into the German camp is vivid and intense, capturing the brutality of ancient warfare.
  • The inclusion of the mystical image of Maximus' wolf aiding him in battle adds an intriguing and symbolic element to the scene.
  • The interaction between Maximus and Marcus Aurelius after the battle provides a moment of reflection and camaraderie, showcasing their bond and mutual respect.
  • The dialogue with the German Prisoner adds depth to the scene by introducing a perspective of resistance and defiance against Roman conquest.
  • The scene effectively conveys the themes of valor, loyalty, and the inevitable clash of civilizations through the characters and their interactions.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more internal thoughts or emotions for Maximus during the battle to provide insight into his mindset and motivations.
  • Enhance the description of the setting to further immerse the reader in the atmosphere of the battlefield and the aftermath of the conflict.
  • Explore the dynamic between Maximus and the Wolf of Rome further to emphasize the symbolic significance of their bond.
  • Develop the dialogue between Maximus and Marcus Aurelius to delve deeper into their relationship and the themes of duty and sacrifice.
  • Consider incorporating more sensory details to enhance the sensory experience of the battle and its aftermath, such as sounds, smells, and textures.



Scene 4 -  The Return of Maximus
EXT. ROAD - SUNSET

Maximus and Marcus are now walking along a road through the
dense forest. Slaves follow behind them, leading their
horses.

Both sides of the road are filled with the men of the Felix
Regiment. As Maximus and Marcus pass, the battered and
bloody soldiers drag themselves to their feet, raising their
swords, paying silent homage.

MAXIMUS
They honor you, Caesar.

MARCUS
I don't think they're standing for
me, Maximus. They honor you.

Just then Commodus canters into view with his Praetorian
Guard escort. He watches the army honor Maximus with rank
envy as he nears.

He rides up to Maximus and Marcus.

COMMODUS
Have I missed it?

He leaps from his horse.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
Have I missed the battle?

MARCUS
You've missed the war. We're done
here.

Commodus embraces him, awkward.

COMMODUS
Father. Congratulations. I shall
sacrifice a thousand doves to honor
your triumph.

MARCUS
Spare the doves and honor Maximus,
he won the battle.

Commodus embraces Maximus, even more awkward.

COMMODUS
General, Rome salutes you and I
embrace you as a brother.
11.

MAXIMUS
Highness.

They walk, Maximus still supporting Marcus, as:

COMMODUS
Your Spaniards seem invincible.
May the Gods favor the Felix
Regiment now and always...
(to his father)
Here, Father, take my arm.

MARCUS
(ignores this)
Where's your sister?

COMMODUS
She's at the camp. She had no
desire to see the gore of the
battlefield.

MARCUS
(smiles)
Lucilla would eat every corpse here
if it brought her one step closer
to the throne.

Maximus laughs.

MAXIMUS
(smiles)
Caesar, you do the lady injustice.

MARCUS
It's a foolish old cobra who
doesn't recognize his own off-
spring...
(he suddenly stops, not
feeling well)
I think... I should ride now.

Maximus waves for Marcus' horse. It is brought up. Several
soldiers carefully help the old man into the saddle. He is
then tethered to the brace on his saddle. It is a slow,
graceful and embarrassing ordeal for the Emperor of Rome.

When at last he is strapped in, he looks to Maximus.

MARCUS (cont’d)
So much for the glory of Rome.

Without a word to his son, Marcus nods and the horse is
slowly lead away.
12.

Commodus and Maximus watch him go.

COMMODUS
(neutral)
He's dying.

A beat.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
Poor old man.

MAXIMUS
(terse)
If you'll excuse me, Highness.

He turns and stalks away.
Genres: ["Historical","Drama"]

Summary Maximus and Marcus travel through a forest, greeted by soldiers who honor Maximus. Commodus arrives and awkwardly congratulates them, revealing his envy of Maximus. Marcus is unwell and expresses concern for his daughter, recognizing Commodus's true nature. Maximus dismisses Commodus's offer of help and leaves him to his resentful thoughts.
Strengths
  • Strong character development
  • Emotional depth
  • Tension-filled dialogue
Weaknesses
  • Some awkward moments in the interactions between characters

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene is well-written, with strong character interactions and emotional depth. The tension and envy add layers to the story and keep the audience engaged.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of honor, envy, and impending death are effectively portrayed in this scene.

Plot: 8

The plot progresses as we see the aftermath of the battle and the relationships between the characters evolve.

Originality: 8

The scene offers a fresh take on historical drama by focusing on the internal struggles of the characters rather than just the external conflicts. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds to the originality.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed, with complex emotions and motivations driving their actions.

Character Changes: 8

The characters undergo subtle changes, especially in their relationships with each other.

Internal Goal: 8

Maximus's internal goal in this scene is to maintain his humility and loyalty despite receiving praise and honor. It reflects his deeper need for integrity and his fear of succumbing to the temptations of power.

External Goal: 7

Maximus's external goal is to support Marcus and navigate the political dynamics with Commodus. It reflects the immediate challenge of balancing loyalty to his friend and duty to his superiors.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 7

There is tension and conflict between the characters, especially between Maximus and Commodus.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in the scene is strong, with conflicting goals and hidden agendas among the characters. The audience is left wondering how these tensions will play out.

High Stakes: 7

The stakes are high with the impending death of Marcus Aurelius and the power struggle between Maximus and Commodus.

Story Forward: 7

The scene provides insight into the characters and sets up future conflicts and developments.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable because of the shifting power dynamics and the characters' hidden motivations. The audience is unsure of how the interactions will unfold.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

The philosophical conflict in this scene is between honor and ambition. Maximus embodies honor and loyalty, while Commodus represents ambition and self-interest. This challenges Maximus's beliefs in doing what is right versus what is advantageous for personal gain.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions, particularly with the impending death of Marcus Aurelius and the complex relationships between the characters.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is engaging and reveals the characters' inner thoughts and conflicts.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of the tension between the characters, the subtle power dynamics, and the historical context. The dialogue and actions keep the audience invested in the story.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene is effective in building tension and maintaining the audience's interest. The rhythm of the dialogue and actions keeps the story moving forward.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The scene follows the expected formatting for a screenplay, with proper scene headings, character names, and dialogue formatting. It is easy to read and understand.

Structure: 8

The scene follows the expected structure for a historical drama, with clear character introductions, rising tension, and a resolution. The pacing and rhythm contribute to its effectiveness.


Critique
  • The scene lacks a clear sense of urgency or tension, considering it follows a victorious battle. There is a missed opportunity to build on the aftermath of the battle and the emotional impact on the characters.
  • The dialogue feels somewhat forced and lacks depth, especially in the interactions between Commodus, Marcus, and Maximus. The exchanges come across as superficial and do not fully capture the complex relationships between the characters.
  • The transition from the previous scene, which was intense and action-packed, to this scene is abrupt and lacks a smooth flow. There is a disconnect in tone and pacing that could be improved.
  • The physical actions described in the scene, such as Marcus being helped onto his horse, are detailed but do not contribute significantly to the overall narrative or character development.
  • The scene could benefit from more subtext and underlying tension, especially considering the power dynamics between Commodus, Marcus, and Maximus. Adding layers of conflict and emotion would enhance the scene.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more depth to the dialogue to reflect the complex relationships and power dynamics between the characters. Focus on subtext and underlying tensions to create a more engaging interaction.
  • Explore the aftermath of the battle and the emotional impact on the characters, especially Maximus and Marcus. Show how the victory has affected them personally and deepen their character development.
  • Work on the pacing and transition between scenes to ensure a smooth flow of events. Consider how to maintain the momentum from the previous scene while setting up the dynamics for the upcoming conflict.
  • Look for opportunities to add layers of conflict and tension to the scene, especially in the interactions between Commodus, Marcus, and Maximus. Use non-verbal cues and subtext to enhance the emotional depth of the scene.
  • Consider revising the physical actions described in the scene to make them more meaningful and impactful. Focus on how these actions contribute to the overall narrative and character development.



Scene 5 -  Consolation in the Valley of Death
EXT. TENT CITY - NIGHT

We see the Roman encampment, a sea of tents. Hundreds of
campfires burn before the tents.


INT. HOSPITAL TENT - NIGHT

Maximus enters a large tent and is met by a spectacle of the
dead and dying. Roman surgeons are working feverishly to
save lives. Limbs are amputated, the bloody stumps quickly
cauterized with hot irons. Leeches and bronze cups are
employed for blood-letting to balance "humours."

Anesthesia as we know it is nonexistent. Wine amphoras are
passed around and orderlies fan narcotic smoke toward the
patients. Mostly, though, they just hold down the writhing
patients.

Maximus moves through the tent, offering a word of comfort
here and there. All the wounded are delighted to see him.

He goes to an older soldier, GALLUS, who has one wooden hand.
His other hand is bandaged.

MAXIMUS
What, Gallus, losing your other
hand?

GALLUS
Aye, General, they're going to make
a bronze one for it. Long fingers
this time.
13.

MAXIMUS
And the women of your village will
crave your touch even more.

GALLUS
Ah, then you know the women of my
village.

Maximus smiles and moves on.

He stops at a young soldier, VALERIUS, whose head has been
shaved. A hole has been bored into his skull to relieve the
pressure on his brain. The young soldier is dying.

MAXIMUS
What's your name, son?

VALERIUS
Valerius, General.

MAXIMUS
The name suits you.

VALERIUS
Why am I dying?

A beat. Maximus sits by his cot. He takes Valerius' hand.

MAXIMUS
You're dying because you love Rome,
as I do.

VALERIUS
I've never been to Rome.

MAXIMUS
Neither have I. Rome for us lives
here...
(he touches his heart)
... it's a thing inside us that
came from our ancestors and that we
give to our children.

VALERIUS
It must be glorious, Rome. I've
only seen pictures. Is it a
glorious place?

A beat.

MAXIMUS
Yes, it's a glorious place.
14.

VALERIUS
It must be.

He smiles. And he is dead.

Maximus sits for a moment. He gently closes Valerius' eyes.
And Maximus finds that he is weeping.

He is not ashamed of the tears.
Genres: ["Historical Drama","War"]

Summary In the depths of a hospital tent, amidst the wounded and dying, Maximus offers solace to those clinging to life. Gallus, a seasoned warrior, faces the amputation of his hand with wry humor. As Valerius, a young soldier succumbing to a fatal wound, gazes at Maximus with longing, he wonders about the enigmatic Rome he has never known. Maximus explains that Valerius' love for Rome, a place he has never set foot in, is the cause of his demise. Witnessing Valerius' peaceful departure, Maximus is overcome by grief.
Strengths
  • Emotional depth
  • Character development
  • Poignant dialogue
Weaknesses
  • Lack of external conflict
  • Slow pacing in some parts

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene is emotionally impactful, well-written, and sets a somber tone that resonates with the audience.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of exploring the emotional aftermath of war and the soldiers' dedication to Rome is compelling and well-executed.

Plot: 8

The plot focuses on the aftermath of the battle and the emotional journey of Maximus as he interacts with wounded soldiers, adding depth to his character.

Originality: 8

The scene offers a fresh perspective on the Roman military setting, focusing on the personal connections and sacrifices made by soldiers in the midst of war. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds depth and realism to the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed, especially Maximus, who shows compassion and strength in the face of tragedy.

Character Changes: 8

Maximus undergoes a subtle change as he confronts the reality of war and the sacrifices made for Rome.

Internal Goal: 9

Maximus's internal goal in this scene is to provide comfort and compassion to the wounded soldiers, reflecting his deeper desire to protect and care for his men, as well as his sense of duty and honor as a leader.

External Goal: 7

Maximus's external goal is to tend to the wounded soldiers and ensure their well-being, reflecting the immediate challenge of dealing with the casualties of war and maintaining morale within the camp.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 6

While there is no physical conflict in the scene, the emotional conflict and inner turmoil of the characters are palpable.

Opposition: 6

The opposition in the scene is subtle but present, as Maximus faces the challenges of caring for the wounded soldiers and dealing with the harsh realities of war, adding depth and conflict to the narrative.

High Stakes: 6

The stakes are not as high in this scene, but the emotional stakes for the characters are significant.

Story Forward: 7

The scene provides insight into the emotional state of the characters and sets the stage for future developments.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable in its emotional impact, as the sudden death of Valerius and Maximus's reaction add a layer of complexity and surprise to the narrative.

Philosophical Conflict: 8

The philosophical conflict in this scene revolves around the value of sacrifice for Rome and the idea of Rome as a symbol of glory and legacy. Maximus's dialogue with Valerius highlights the belief in Rome as a noble cause worth dying for.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions from the audience, particularly through Maximus' interactions with the wounded soldiers.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue is poignant and serves to deepen the emotional impact of the scene.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its emotional depth, historical authenticity, and compelling character interactions that draw the audience into the world of the Roman encampment.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene effectively builds tension and emotion, allowing for moments of reflection and connection between characters while maintaining a sense of urgency and momentum.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of the scene adheres to the expected format for its genre, with clear scene headings and descriptive elements that enhance the visual storytelling.

Structure: 9

The scene follows a clear and engaging structure, moving seamlessly between action and dialogue to convey the emotional and narrative beats effectively.


Critique
  • The scene effectively sets the grim and chaotic atmosphere of a hospital tent during wartime, with vivid descriptions of the gruesome medical procedures and the suffering of the wounded.
  • The dialogue between Maximus and the wounded soldiers adds depth to his character and showcases his compassion and empathy towards his men.
  • The emotional moment between Maximus and Valerius is poignant and highlights the theme of sacrifice and love for Rome.
  • The scene effectively conveys Maximus's internal conflict and vulnerability through his tears, showing a different side to his character.
  • The visual descriptions of the hospital tent and the wounded soldiers create a vivid and immersive setting for the scene.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more sensory details to enhance the atmosphere of the hospital tent, such as sounds of groans, smells of blood and smoke, and the feel of the cramped and chaotic space.
  • Explore further the emotional impact of Maximus's interactions with the wounded soldiers, delving deeper into their stories and struggles to create more emotional resonance.
  • Consider incorporating more internal monologue or reflection from Maximus to provide insight into his thoughts and feelings during this intense and emotional scene.
  • Ensure that the transition from the previous scene to this one is smooth and seamless, maintaining the momentum and emotional continuity of the story.
  • Consider exploring the aftermath of Maximus's emotional outburst, showing how it affects his relationships with other characters and his own sense of purpose.



Scene 6 -  The Grand Mess Tent
INT. MESS TENT - NIGHT

An immediate swirl of noise. The grand mess tent is crowded
with soldiers. They are still filthy with caked- on mud and
blood. Wounds are bandaged and tankards are raised in
celebration of the victory.

Marcus sits in a central position and receives visitors.
Currently two Senators, FALCO and GAIUS, are bowing before
him.

FALCO
Hail, Marcus Aurelius.

MARCUS
Stand up, Senators. That
unfamiliar posture doesn't suit
you.

GAIUS
We live in supplication to your
glory.

MARCUS
All the while conspiring with that
fat man in Rome. How is the old
monster?

GAIUS
Senator Gracchus is hale, sire.

MARCUS
Still damning me to the four winds?

GAIUS
Still eager for your triumphant
return to Rome, Caesar.

MARCUS
I would have silenced him decades
ago -- but I just like him too
much.
15.

Meanwhile, Maximus stands with his lieutenants, Titus and
Quintus. A wound on Maximus' arm has been bound.

MAXIMUS
(to Titus)
If you want to stay on, I support
you. So do the men. I'll ask the
Emperor to appoint you in my place.

TITUS
It won't be the Felix Regiment
without you.

MAXIMUS
I'll return after a season at home.
Maybe two.

QUINTUS
That means after three or four more
babies.

TITUS
And you'll be too fat from Vibia's
cooking to get on your horse by
then.

MAXIMUS
Should the Gods so bless me. I
would be thankful.

Commodus perambulates up to them.

COMMODUS
Hail, warriors. My
congratulations.

TITUS AND QUINTUS
(bowing)
Highness.

COMMODUS
(to Maximus)
My old friend, my father tells me
you're returning to Spain?

MAXIMUS
Yes.

COMMODUS
A pity. I'll need men like you in
my army...
16.

An awkward glance between the soldiers. This sort of talk is
offensively premature.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
There are larger division that
might appeal to you. Even the
Praetorian Guard. You've never
been to Rome. Imagine arriving as
head of the Praetorians! They have
really splendid uniforms.

MAXIMUS
(cold)
I'm going home.

Senators Gaius and Falco join them.

GAIUS
(to Maximus)
... And why not apply for entry to
the Senate?

FALCO
A war hero with a handsome face and
a strong heart could go far.

COMMODUS
General Maximus, may I present
Senators Gaius and Falco. Beware
of this Gaius, he'll pour a honeyed
potion in your ear and you'll wake
up one day and all you'll say is
"Republic, Republic, Republic..."

Laughter.

FALCO
Have you never considered Rome?

MAXIMUS
No.

COMMODUS
You've had my ear since we were
children. You could be a valuable
ally in the Senate.

GAIUS
Are you a believer in
Republicanism?
17.

COMMODUS
(laughs)
There -- I warned you.

MAXIMUS
I'm a soldier, not a politician.

Meanwhile, a dark eye is studying the men through a hidden
slit in the tent wall. The eye is particularly drawn to
Maximus.

GAIUS
If your heart lies with the people,
I would back you for the Senate.
I'm sure Gracchus would as well.

COMMODUS
Not a word about that sodomite
bastard.

GAIUS
(smiles to Maximus)
The august Senator Gracchus has
been rather a gadfly on the flesh
of the imperial family.

FALCO
He's a damned provocateur.

GAIUS
He lives under the antiquated
assumption that the Senate should
represent the people with vigor.

COMMODUS
I won't tolerate it. His incessant
criticism exhausts me. The man can
speak for five hours without taking
a breath.

GAIUS
He serves Rome best when he serves
it with honesty.

COMMODUS
(sharply)
Enough... Maximus, I would like to
inspect the Felix Regiment at dawn.
Please arrange it.

MAXIMUS
I can't do that.
18.

COMMODUS
Excuse me?

MAXIMUS
My men have been fighting for five
solid days. They're too busy dying
to go on dress parade.

A beat. Commodus' eyes flash fire at this public rebuke. He
very quickly gets control.

COMMODUS
(smiles)
Of course, how foolish of me. Some
other time...

He notes his father being helped out of the tent by several
body slaves.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
Caesar retires early tonight.
Genres: ["Historical Drama","War"]

Summary Emperor Marcus Aurelius celebrates victory with his generals. Senators Falco and Gaius congratulate Maximus and suggest he enter the Senate. Maximus declines, preferring to return to Spain. Commodus, threatened by Maximus' popularity, tries to undermine him by questioning his loyalty. Gaius offers political support, which Maximus refuses. Commodus orders Maximus to inspect the Felix Regiment at dawn, but Maximus declines due to exhaustion among his men. An unknown observer monitors the scene.
Strengths
  • Strong character development
  • Engaging dialogue
  • Intriguing political dynamics
Weaknesses
  • Some dialogue may be too on-the-nose
  • Lack of visual action in the scene

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively sets up conflicts and tensions that will drive the plot forward. It introduces key characters and establishes their motivations.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of political power struggles and personal ambitions in ancient Rome is well-developed and engaging.

Plot: 8

The plot advances as we see Commodus trying to assert his authority and Maximus navigating his loyalty to his men and his desire to return home.

Originality: 9

The scene presents a fresh take on historical political intrigue and power struggles. The characters' actions and dialogue feel authentic and engaging.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-defined and their interactions reveal their personalities and motivations effectively.

Character Changes: 7

There are subtle shifts in the characters' dynamics and motivations, setting up potential changes in future scenes.

Internal Goal: 8

Maximus' internal goal is to return home and be with his family, as indicated by his conversation with his lieutenants about leaving the army and going back to Spain.

External Goal: 7

Maximus' external goal is to resist Commodus' attempts to recruit him for political positions and to assert his desire to go home.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

There is a high level of conflict between the characters, both overt and subtle.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with Maximus resisting Commodus' attempts to recruit him and asserting his desire to go home.

High Stakes: 8

The stakes are high as characters jockey for power and influence in the Roman Empire.

Story Forward: 9

The scene moves the story forward by introducing new conflicts and deepening existing ones.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the unexpected twists in the characters' interactions and the shifting power dynamics.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

The philosophical conflict is between Maximus' loyalty to his family and his duty as a soldier, and Commodus' desire for power and control.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 7

The scene evokes a range of emotions, from tension to humor.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is sharp and reveals the power dynamics and tensions between the characters.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of the tension between the characters, the power dynamics at play, and the conflicting motivations of the protagonist.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by building tension and suspense through the characters' interactions and dialogue.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The scene follows the expected formatting for its genre, with clear dialogue and scene descriptions.

Structure: 8

The scene follows the expected structure for its genre, with clear character interactions and progression of conflict.


Critique
  • The scene transitions from a celebratory atmosphere in the mess tent to a tense interaction between Maximus, Commodus, and the Senators, creating a shift in tone that could be smoother.
  • The dialogue between the characters feels a bit forced and expository, lacking subtlety and depth in their interactions.
  • There is a missed opportunity to delve deeper into the underlying tensions and power dynamics between Maximus, Commodus, and the Senators, which could add more complexity to the scene.
  • The introduction of the mysterious figure observing the conversation through a tent slit feels somewhat contrived and could be integrated more organically into the narrative.
  • The scene could benefit from more visual descriptions to enhance the setting and atmosphere, providing a more immersive experience for the audience.
Suggestions
  • Consider refining the dialogue to make it more natural and nuanced, allowing the characters' personalities and motivations to shine through in a more authentic way.
  • Explore the underlying conflicts and power struggles between the characters, particularly Maximus, Commodus, and the Senators, to add depth and intrigue to the scene.
  • Integrate the mysterious figure observing the conversation in a way that feels more integral to the plot, perhaps by revealing their identity or purpose in a later scene.
  • Enhance the visual elements of the scene by describing the surroundings, character expressions, and body language to create a more vivid and engaging setting.
  • Work on the pacing and transitions between different tones and moods in the scene to ensure a smooth and cohesive narrative flow.



Scene 7 -  The Succession
INT. TENT CORRIDOR - NIGHT

Marcus is helped out of the mess tent into a tent corridor
attached.

He sees his daughter Lucilla in the corridor, spying in
through the slit in the tent wall. He watches her, smiles.

MARCUS
If only you had been born a man...

She turns to him. He leaves his body slaves and goes to her.

LUCILLA
Father.

MARCUS
What a Caesar you would have made.

LUCILLA
You're right.

MARCUS
I think you would have been strong.
I wonder if you would have been
just?

LUCILLA
I would have been what you taught
me to be.
19.

A beat. They stare at each other. He finally smiles.

MARCUS
Well, pretend to be my loving
daughter tonight and walk with me
to my chamber.

She smiles and takes his arm. They slowly walk down the tent
corridor as:

MARCUS (cont’d)
This is a pleasant fiction, isn't
it?

They disappear into darkness.


EXT. TENT CITY - DAWN

Maximus is slogging through the mud and snow that blankets
the Rome camp. He stops to observe an unusual sight.

Commodus is stripped almost naked, his chiseled body covered
in a fine sheen of sweat. He and his six CENTURION BODY
GUARDS are going through their daily ritual. They defy the
sub-zero temperatures and hack at small trees with swords.

It is an eerie, zen-like workout. Commodus' intense
concentration is unnerving.

Maximus watches for a moment then moves on. He approaches a
large network of tents. He enters.


INT. MARCUS' TENT - DAY

Maximus enters Marcus' darkened tent. Flickering braziers
provide the only light in the enormous Imperial tent. Heavy
beams support the canopy and they creak like the timbers of a
ship as the tent sways slightly in the wind. Marcus stands
before a map of the Roman Empire.

MAXIMUS
(bows)
Caesar.

Marcus holds out a scroll.

MARCUS
Read this.

MAXIMUS
I never acquired the art, sir.
20.

MARCUS
Of course. No matter. In this
letter I denote my intention to
nominate you to stand for the
Emperorship after my death.

A stunned pause. Maximus stares at him.

MARCUS (cont’d)
My son is not a moral man. You
have known this since you were
young. He cannot rule.

MAXIMUS
Caesar, I am honored but --

MARCUS
For twenty years I have been
spilling blood. For twenty years I
have written philosophy and
ruminated and conquered. Since I
became Caesar I have only had four
years without war. Four years of
peace in twenty. So perhaps I can
be... forgiven.

A long beat.

MARCUS (cont’d)
While I have been fighting, Rome
has grown mad and corpulent and
diseased. I did this. And now I
shall make it right.

MAXIMUS
Sire, you brought the light of the
Gods to barbarian darkness. You
brought civilization and justice to
the farthest --

MARCUS
(fierce)
I have brought the sword -- nothing
more! Rome is far away and we
shouldn't be here. What matter is
it to the Gods if we subdue one
more tribe of Parthians or Gauls?
What matter is it to Rome if a
thousand more barbarians bend to
our lash?

A beat.
21.

Marcus sits. He doesn't look at Maximus.

A pause.

MARCUS (cont’d)
Winter, Maximus. It's winter
now...

A beat.

MARCUS (cont’d)
There was a dream that was Rome. I
can only whisper of it now.
Anything more than a whisper and
the dream vanishes. It's so...
fragile. The true glory of Rome is
in a very fragile idea. Imagine a
place devoted to the rights of the
citizen. Where every free man has
a voice. That was the dream... And
I fear it will not survive the
winter.

He holds out a hand to Maximus. Maximus takes his hand,
deeply moved, kneeling.

MARCUS (cont’d)
Let's just whisper here, you and I.

MAXIMUS
Yes, Caesar.

MARCUS
If the dream is ever to live again
the people must have a true voice.
The voice I took from them. That
all the Caesars took from them, bit
by bit, conquest by conquest. And
now that I am dying I am going to
give them that voice again.

MAXIMUS
You're not dying.

MARCUS
I am, Maximus. It's strange... I
find as I near the end I think
little of the waning moments around
me... instead I think much of the
past... and of the future. How
will the world speak my name in
years to come? Will I be known as
the philosopher? The warrior?
(MORE)
22.
MARCUS(cont'd)
The tyrant? Or will there be a
more golden sounding to my name?
Will I be the Emperor who gave Rome
back her freedom?

A beat.

MARCUS (cont’d)
Before I die I will give the people
this final gift. I will give them
the Senate reborn. The voice of
the people empowered again, as it
was always meant to be. It is my
design that they will elect the
next Emperor. And I would put
forward your name with my backing.

MAXIMUS
Caesar, you do me honor -- but your
son has pride of place for
succession.

MARCUS
You are the son I should have
had... Although I fear in my
deepest heart that if you had truly
been my son my blood would have
polluted you as it did Commodus.
We're a cursed bloodline. We have
lived so long in power and
depravity that we no longer
remember a life without it. We can
no longer even imagine a life
without it.

A beat.

MARCUS (cont’d)
Look at me, son.

Maximus looks at him.

MARCUS (cont’d)
Son... I know that one grove of
your vineyard is worth more to you
than all the treasures of Rome. I
know one loving word from your wife
is worth more than the accolades of
an Empire. But... a fond old man,
who loves you more than he can say,
begs you to at least think about
what he has said tonight.
23.

MAXIMUS
I shall, Caesar.

A beat.

MARCUS
I'll keep this letter to myself. I
hope that with the sunrise you will
agree. And embrace me as a father.

Maximus nods and rises. He begins to go. Stops.

MAXIMUS
You have always been my father.

He goes.
Genres: ["Historical Drama","Political Drama"]

Summary Marcus Aurelius, the aging Roman emperor, confides in Maximus about his concerns over his son Commodus's fitness to rule. He reveals his plan to restore the Senate and make Maximus his successor, in an effort to prevent Commodus from taking over. Maximus is deeply moved by Marcus's words and agrees to consider his request.
Strengths
  • Deep character exploration
  • Rich dialogue
  • Philosophical themes
Weaknesses
  • Lack of external action or conflict

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene is emotionally impactful, rich in dialogue, and sets up important plot developments. The deep introspection and philosophical musings elevate the overall quality.


Story Content

Concept: 9

The concept of exploring the legacy of power, the fragility of civilization, and the idea of giving the people a voice in choosing the next Emperor is compelling and thought-provoking.

Plot: 8

The plot advances significantly with the revelation of Marcus Aurelius' intentions for succession and the internal conflict faced by Maximus in accepting the nomination.

Originality: 8

The scene offers a fresh perspective on Roman history, focusing on personal relationships, political intrigue, and moral dilemmas. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds depth and complexity to the narrative.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters of Marcus Aurelius and Maximus are deeply explored, revealing their inner thoughts, fears, and hopes. Their relationship and dynamics drive the scene.

Character Changes: 8

Both Marcus Aurelius and Maximus undergo internal changes as they confront their beliefs, fears, and responsibilities, setting the stage for character development.

Internal Goal: 9

Marcus's internal goal is to secure a legacy of freedom and democracy for Rome, as well as to reconcile with his daughter and potential successor, Lucilla. This reflects his desire for redemption and a better future for his people.

External Goal: 8

Marcus's external goal is to nominate Maximus as his successor to prevent his immoral son, Commodus, from ruling. This reflects his immediate challenge of ensuring a just and capable leader for Rome.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 6

The conflict is more internal and philosophical rather than external, focusing on the characters' moral dilemmas and decisions.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with conflicting desires, moral dilemmas, and political challenges. The audience is left uncertain about the characters' choices and the outcome of their decisions.

High Stakes: 7

The stakes are high in terms of the future of Rome, the legacy of Marcus Aurelius, and the potential impact of Maximus' decision on the succession.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward significantly by revealing Marcus Aurelius' plans for succession and the internal conflict faced by Maximus.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the unexpected twists in character motivations, moral dilemmas, and political decisions. The audience is kept on edge, unsure of how the conflicts will unfold.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

The philosophical conflict revolves around the idea of power, corruption, and the legacy of a bloodline. Marcus grapples with the consequences of his actions and the impact of power on his family and Rome.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions through the intimate conversations, reflections on mortality, and the weight of responsibility carried by the characters.

Dialogue: 9

The dialogue is rich, philosophical, and emotionally resonant, adding depth to the characters and themes of the scene.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its emotional depth, character development, and philosophical themes. The interactions between characters, the moral dilemmas, and the political intrigue captivate the audience.

Pacing: 9

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by building tension, emotional depth, and character development. The rhythm of the dialogue and the progression of events enhance the scene's impact.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The scene follows the expected format for its genre, with clear scene descriptions, character actions, and dialogue. The formatting enhances the readability and visual impact of the scene.

Structure: 9

The scene follows a well-defined structure, with clear character motivations, conflicts, and resolutions. The pacing and rhythm contribute to the scene's effectiveness, building tension and emotional depth.


Critique
  • The scene lacks a clear sense of urgency or tension, considering the gravity of the conversation between Marcus and Maximus.
  • The dialogue between Marcus and Maximus feels somewhat formal and lacks emotional depth, especially given the weight of the topics being discussed.
  • The transition from Marcus and Lucilla's conversation to Maximus observing Commodus's workout is abrupt and disrupts the flow of the scene.
  • There is a lack of visual description and atmosphere in the setting, which could enhance the emotional impact of the scene.
  • The character dynamics between Marcus, Maximus, and Lucilla could be further developed to create more depth and complexity in their relationships.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more emotional depth and authenticity to the dialogue between Marcus and Maximus to convey the weight of the situation.
  • Introduce more visual elements to enhance the setting and atmosphere, such as describing the flickering light of the braziers or the creaking of the tent beams.
  • Work on creating a smoother transition between different parts of the scene to maintain the narrative flow.
  • Explore the internal conflicts and motivations of the characters to add layers to their interactions and make them more compelling.
  • Consider adding moments of tension or conflict to increase the dramatic impact of the scene.



Scene 8 -  A Moment of Reckoning
INT. TENT CORRIDOR - DAY

Maximus emerges from Marcus' tent into a long tent corridor,
deep in thought.

LUCILLA'S VOICE
He always favored you...

He turns. Lucilla is waiting. She glides to him.

LUCILLA
Even over his son.

MAXIMUS
(turning away)
That's not true.

LUCILLA
Maximus, stop...
(he stops)
Let me see your face.

He turns to her.

LUCILLA (cont’d)
You've been crying.

MAXIMUS
I lost too many men.

LUCILLA
What does my father intend?

He turns and walks. She walks with him.
24.

MAXIMUS
I don't know.

LUCILLA
You're lying. I could tell when
you were lying even when we were
children. You hate it.

MAXIMUS
I never acquired your comfort with
it.

LUCILLA
True. But then you never had to.
Maximus, stop...
(he stops again)
... Is it really so terrible seeing
me again?

MAXIMUS
No. I'm sorry. I'm tired from the
battle.

LUCILLA
And you are hurt to see my father
dying.

A beat.

LUCILLA (cont’d)
He will announce Commodus'
succession. That's why he summoned
us. Will you serve my brother as
you served his father?

MAXIMUS
I will always serve the ideals of
Rome.

A beat.

LUCILLA
Do you know I still remember you in
my prayers...? Oh yes, I pray...
Ever since that day you saved me
from drowning off Capri. Do you
remember?

MAXIMUS
Yes.
25.

LUCILLA
Commodus was so angry that a mere
peasant -- a Spaniard no less --
touched the royal person, do you
remember his anger?

MAXIMUS
Yes.

LUCILLA
Mark this, Maximus: that is the
man who will be Emperor.

A beat.

MAXIMUS
May I be permitted to go, Highness?

She smiles sadly.

LUCILLA
There was a time when you didn't
call me "Highness."

MAXIMUS
And there was a time when you were
just a little girl drowning in the
sea. All that was a different
life.

LUCILLA
(quietly)
Very different... I wonder if it
was better?

MAXIMUS
It was more honest.

A moment between them. We sense there is much to be said,
much that could be said.

Finally:

MAXIMUS (cont’d)
I thank you for your prayers.

He goes. She watches him walk away.
Genres: ["Drama","Historical"]

Summary Maximus and Lucilla confront each other in the aftermath of Marcus' death. Lucilla accuses Maximus of hiding his knowledge of Marcus' plans, while Maximus remains steadfast in his loyalty to Rome. Despite their shared past, Maximus' duty conflicts with his personal feelings, leaving Lucilla to reflect on their lost connection.
Strengths
  • Emotional depth
  • Character development
  • Rich dialogue
Weaknesses
  • Pacing could be slow for some viewers

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively conveys emotional depth and sets up important character dynamics and conflicts for future developments.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of loyalty, duty, and the clash between personal feelings and political obligations is well-established and drives the narrative forward.

Plot: 7

The plot progresses by revealing key character motivations and setting up potential power struggles within the Roman hierarchy.

Originality: 9

The scene offers a fresh perspective on power dynamics, loyalty, and personal sacrifice within a historical context. The characters' actions and dialogue feel authentic and engaging, contributing to the scene's originality.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters of Maximus and Lucilla are richly developed, showcasing their emotional complexity and internal struggles.

Character Changes: 7

Both Maximus and Lucilla experience internal conflict and emotional turmoil, hinting at potential character growth and transformation.

Internal Goal: 8

Maximus's internal goal in this scene is to maintain his integrity and loyalty to Rome despite the challenges and emotional turmoil he is facing. His desire to serve the ideals of Rome reflects his deeper values and beliefs.

External Goal: 7

Maximus's external goal is to navigate the political landscape and understand Emperor Marcus Aurelius's intentions regarding his succession. This goal reflects the immediate circumstances and challenges he is facing in the scene.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 7

There is an underlying tension between Maximus and Lucilla due to their shared history and conflicting loyalties, setting the stage for future confrontations.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in the scene is strong, with conflicting beliefs, values, and goals driving the character interactions. The unresolved tension between Maximus and Lucilla adds depth to the scene.

High Stakes: 7

The stakes are high as the characters grapple with loyalty, duty, and the impending succession crisis within the Roman Empire.

Story Forward: 7

The scene deepens the character dynamics and sets up important plot points for future developments, moving the story forward.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable because of the shifting power dynamics, emotional revelations, and unresolved conflicts between the characters. The audience is left unsure of how the situation will unfold.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

The philosophical conflict in this scene revolves around loyalty, honesty, and the corrupt nature of power. Lucilla challenges Maximus's beliefs and values, forcing him to confront the reality of Commodus's impending rule.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions through its exploration of regret, longing, and the weight of past decisions.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is poignant and reveals the characters' inner thoughts and conflicts effectively.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its emotional depth, character dynamics, and subtle tension. The dialogue and interactions between Maximus and Lucilla draw the audience in and create a sense of intrigue.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene is well-executed, allowing for moments of tension, reflection, and emotional resonance. The rhythm of the dialogue and character interactions contributes to the scene's effectiveness.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The scene's formatting is clear and concise, allowing the dialogue and character interactions to take center stage. It follows the expected format for its genre.

Structure: 8

The scene follows a traditional dialogue-driven structure, effectively building tension and revealing character motivations. It adheres to the expected format for its genre.


Critique
  • The scene lacks a clear sense of urgency or tension, considering the weight of the conversation between Maximus and Lucilla. The emotional depth of the characters could be further explored to enhance the impact of their dialogue.
  • The dialogue feels somewhat expository and could benefit from more subtlety and nuance. The interactions between Maximus and Lucilla could be more layered and reflective of their complex history and emotions.
  • The pacing of the scene could be improved to create a more engaging and dynamic exchange between Maximus and Lucilla. Adding more visual elements or actions to break up the dialogue could enhance the scene's impact.
  • There is a missed opportunity to delve deeper into the conflicting loyalties and emotions of Maximus and Lucilla. Exploring their internal struggles and the weight of their decisions could add depth to the scene.
  • The scene could benefit from more visual descriptions and sensory details to create a vivid and immersive setting. Utilizing the environment to reflect the characters' emotions and the gravity of their conversation could enhance the scene.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more subtext and layers to the dialogue between Maximus and Lucilla to convey their complex emotions and history without explicitly stating everything.
  • Introduce more visual elements or actions to break up the dialogue and create a more visually engaging scene. This could include gestures, expressions, or movements that reflect the characters' emotions.
  • Explore the internal conflicts and moral dilemmas of Maximus and Lucilla more deeply to add complexity and depth to their characters. Allow their emotions and decisions to drive the scene's tension and dynamics.
  • Enhance the pacing of the scene by varying the rhythm of the dialogue and incorporating pauses or moments of reflection. This can create a more natural flow and build anticipation throughout the conversation.
  • Utilize sensory details and visual descriptions to enrich the setting and atmosphere of the scene. Consider how the environment can mirror the characters' emotions and add depth to their interactions.



Scene 9 -  Mourning and Conflict in the Aftermath
INT. MAXIMUS' TENT - NIGHT

Maximus kneels before a small altar in his tent. He faces
six small figures that represent his dead ancestors.
26.

MAXIMUS
Ancestors, true bloodline, I ask
you for your guidance. Bring me
your solace and your wisdom.
Blessed Mother, come to me in my
dreams with the Gods' desire for my
future. Blessed Father, watch over
my wife and my son with a ready
sword. Keep them safe until my
return. Whisper to them in their
sleep that I live only to hold them
again and all else is dust and air.
Ancestors, true bloodline, I honor
you and will try to live with the
dignity you have taught me.

He looks at his "ancestors" for a moment and then blows out
the candles around them.


INT. MARCUS' TENT - NIGHT

Commodus' eyes are red with weeping. He sits, head down, at
the foot of Marcus' bed and speaks to his father.

COMMODUS
(quietly)
I search the faces of the Gods for
ways to please you... to make you
proud... and I can never do it.
One kind word -- one full hug where
you pressed me to your chest and
held me tight -- would have been
like the sun on my heart for a
thousand years... What is it in me
you hate so much? My eyes are your
eyes. My hands are your hands.
All I have ever wanted was to live
up to you. Caesar. Father.

He stands. We see that he is holding the scroll denoting
Marcus' intention to nominate Maximus as Emperor to the
Senate. Commodus cannot control his tears.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
Why does Maximus deserve what I
could never have? -- Why do you
love his eyes over mine? -- I would
butcher the whole world -- if you
would only love me...

Commodus weeps.
27.


INT. MAXIMUS' TENT - NIGHT

Quintus is waking Maximus --

QUINTUS
General -- Maximus --

MAXIMUS
Quintus -- ?

QUINTUS
The Emperor needs you. It's
urgent.

Maximus leaps up and throws on a cloak, strides out with
Quintus...


EXT. TENT CITY - NIGHT

Dead of night. Maximus and Quintus stride quickly through
the sleeping camp toward Marcus' tent.

MAXIMUS
What is it? Is he ill?

QUINTUS
I don't know...

They continue on toward Marcus' tent.


INT. MARCUS' TENT - NIGHT

Maximus and Quintus stride into the tent -- Maximus slams to
a halt. Stunned.

Commodus stands before him. Lucilla stands in a corner of
the tent, head down.

And Marcus Aurelius dead, lying on his bed.

Maximus stares at Marcus.

COMMODUS
Lament with me, brother, our great
father is dead. I want --

Maximus, not even hearing, steps past him to Marcus.

He stands for a moment and then slowly kneels before Marcus
and gently kisses the old man's forehead. A ritual farewell.
28.
A moment of silent mourning and then Maximus stands. He
turns very, very slowly to Commodus.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
General, the Gods' have taken the
great man and left me alone. My
first desire as Emperor is that you
take my hand in friendship. I need
you at my side, Maximus, at this
moment above all others. Stand
with me.

Maximus glares at him:

MAXIMUS
How did he die?

Commodus does not respond.

MAXIMUS (cont’d)
How did he die?

COMMODUS
The surgeons say it was his breath
that gave out.

Maximus glances to Lucilla, she avoids his eyes.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
Take my hand, Maximus. I only
offer it once.

A beat.

Maximus turns back to Marcus.

MAXIMUS
How will the world speak your name
now, old man?

Without a glance to Commodus, he stalks out.

A silent beat. Then Commodus nods to Quintus. Quintus goes.

Lucilla looks at Commodus for a long moment, her face an
enigmatic tornado of complex emotions.

Then:

LUCILLA
Hail, Caesar.
29.
Genres: ["Historical Drama","War","Family"]

Summary Array
Strengths
  • Emotional depth
  • Character dynamics
  • Plot development
  • Tension
Weaknesses
  • Some dialogue may feel melodramatic

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene is emotionally charged, with strong character dynamics and significant plot development. The dialogue is impactful, and the conflict is palpable, making it a compelling and pivotal moment in the story.


Story Content

Concept: 9

The concept of power dynamics, loyalty, and legacy is central to the scene, driving the characters' actions and decisions. The tension between Commodus and Maximus sets the stage for future conflicts.

Plot: 9

The plot advances significantly with the death of Marcus Aurelius and the subsequent power struggle between Commodus and Maximus. The scene sets up key conflicts and character motivations for the rest of the story.

Originality: 8

The scene introduces fresh perspectives on themes of power, loyalty, and familial relationships within the context of ancient Rome. The characters' emotional depth and moral dilemmas add authenticity and complexity to the narrative, offering a unique take on historical drama.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are deeply developed, each grappling with their own emotions and motivations. Maximus's loyalty and integrity contrast with Commodus's insecurity and ambition, creating a compelling dynamic.

Character Changes: 8

Maximus experiences a shift in his loyalty and sense of duty following Marcus Aurelius's death, setting him on a new path of conflict and self-discovery. Commodus's insecurities and ambitions drive his actions, leading to a deeper exploration of his character.

Internal Goal: 9

Maximus' internal goal is to honor his ancestors, seek guidance for his future, and maintain his dignity in the face of adversity. This reflects his deep connection to his heritage, his desire for wisdom and solace, and his commitment to upholding the values instilled in him by his ancestors.

External Goal: 8

Maximus' external goal is to understand the circumstances of Marcus Aurelius' death and navigate the political implications of Commodus' ascension to power. This reflects the immediate challenges and power dynamics at play in the Roman Empire.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict between Maximus and Commodus is intense and layered, driven by their conflicting desires for power and recognition. The emotional conflict adds depth to the power struggle and sets the stage for future confrontations.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with conflicting desires, emotional turmoil, and power dynamics creating obstacles for the characters to overcome. The audience is left uncertain about the characters' fates and the outcome of their choices.

High Stakes: 9

The stakes are high as the power struggle between Maximus and Commodus intensifies following Marcus Aurelius's death. The future of Rome hangs in the balance, with personal ambitions and loyalties at odds.

Story Forward: 9

The scene propels the story forward by introducing key conflicts, character motivations, and power dynamics. The death of Marcus Aurelius and the power struggle between Maximus and Commodus set the stage for future developments.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the characters' conflicting motivations, emotional outbursts, and unexpected plot developments. The audience is kept on edge, unsure of how the characters' choices will impact the narrative.

Philosophical Conflict: 8

The philosophical conflict in this scene revolves around the themes of honor, loyalty, power, and familial relationships. Maximus grapples with his loyalty to Marcus Aurelius and his duty to the Empire, while Commodus struggles with his desire for his father's approval and his thirst for power.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions of grief, resentment, and betrayal, drawing the audience into the characters' inner turmoil. The poignant moments of mourning and confrontation heighten the emotional impact.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is poignant and reveals the characters' inner turmoil and conflicting desires. It drives the emotional impact of the scene and sets up future confrontations.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its emotional depth, moral complexity, and dramatic tension. The characters' internal struggles and philosophical conflicts draw the audience in, creating a sense of suspense and intrigue.

Pacing: 9

The pacing of the scene is well-executed, with a gradual build-up of tension, emotional intensity, and dramatic revelations. The rhythm of the dialogue and character interactions contributes to the scene's effectiveness, keeping the audience engaged and invested in the unfolding events.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The scene adheres to the expected formatting for its genre, with clear scene headings, character actions, and dialogue cues. The visual descriptions and narrative flow enhance the reader's understanding of the setting and character dynamics.

Structure: 9

The scene follows a well-defined structure, with clear character motivations, emotional arcs, and dramatic tension. The pacing and rhythm of the scene contribute to its effectiveness, building suspense and emotional depth.


Critique
  • The scene transitions abruptly from Maximus praying to his ancestors to Commodus grieving over his father's death, which can be disorienting for the audience.
  • The emotional depth of Maximus praying to his ancestors and Commodus expressing his inner turmoil could be further explored to create a more impactful and engaging scene.
  • The dialogue between Commodus and Marcus Aurelius lacks subtlety and comes across as melodramatic, which may diminish the emotional impact of the moment.
  • The pacing of the scene feels rushed, especially in the interactions between Maximus, Commodus, and Lucilla, leading to a lack of depth in character development and emotional resonance.
  • The transition from Maximus mourning Marcus Aurelius to Commodus trying to manipulate Maximus into standing by his side feels forced and could be smoother to enhance the narrative flow.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more visual cues or actions to convey the emotions and thoughts of the characters, rather than relying solely on dialogue.
  • Explore the internal conflicts of Maximus, Commodus, and Lucilla more deeply to create a richer and more nuanced portrayal of their characters.
  • Work on the pacing of the scene to allow for moments of silence and reflection, enhancing the emotional impact of key moments.
  • Consider restructuring the scene to create a more seamless transition between Maximus praying to his ancestors and the revelation of Marcus Aurelius' death, to maintain continuity and engagement.
  • Focus on building tension and suspense in the interactions between Maximus, Commodus, and Lucilla to heighten the dramatic impact of the scene.



Scene 10 -  Maximus' Betrayal and Escape
INT. MAXIMUS' TENT - NIGHT

Maximus is kneeling before his ancestors, head down, his
fists clenched, praying.

Quintus and four Praetorian ASSASSINS suddenly burst in --
the assassins move immediately to bind Maximus -- swords at
his throat --

MAXIMUS
What -- ?!

QUINTUS
(ashamed)
Please don't fight, Maximus --

MAXIMUS
Quintus --

Quintus goes to Maximus' armor, which hangs nearby, and
slowly removes his seal of office.

QUINTUS
I'm sorry, General, Caesar has
spoken.

They pull Maximus out --


EXT. MAXIMUS' TENT - TENT CITY - NIGHT

Five horses are waiting.

MAXIMUS
Quintus, what -- ?

QUINTUS
(anguish)
I have no choice --

They are almost run over by a stern cohort of twenty
Praetorians who gallop past. Maximus knows immediately what
this means.

MAXIMUS
(suddenly)
My family?!

A beat.

MAXIMUS (cont’d)
What about my family, Quintus?
30.

QUINTUS
(quietly)
They will greet you in the
afterlife.

Maximus lunges at him -- the Praetorians subdue him --
slamming him with a sword hilt -- knocking him unconscious.

QUINTUS (cont’d)
(quietly, to assassins)
Take him as far as the sunrise and
then kill him.


EXT. FOREST ROAD - DAWN

The four Praetorian assassins lead Maximus along a road. He
sits slumped in his saddle, drained.

ASSASSIN #1
All right, this is far enough.

The three other assassins climb from their horses. Assassin
#2 pushes Maximus from his horse. He falls to the ground
hard.

ASSASSIN #1 (cont’d)
You two take him down there where
no one will find him.

ASSASSIN #3
Come on, General...

Assassin #3 and Assassin #4 drag Maximus down a densely
forested hill along the road. Maximus' hands are still bound
in front of him. He seems totally lacking in any resistance.


EXT. FOREST - BELOW THE ROAD - DAWN

Maximus eyes the two assassins as they troop down the hill
away from the road, he notes their sparkling armor. The armor
of men who have never seen real battle.

MAXIMUS
Have you ever done this before?

ASSASSIN #3
What?

MAXIMUS
Killed a man with a sword?
31.

ASSASSIN #3
Not like this, exactly... this is
good, you can stop.

They stop. They are far down the hill, out of sight of the
road.

MAXIMUS
It can be very messy -- you could
get blood all over your armor. You
don't want to hack me up now. You
want one clean stroke.

ASSASSIN #3
Would you kneel, General?

Maximus kneels, his whole body secretly coiling. Assassin #3
stands over him as:

MAXIMUS
One good stroke -- you do know
where, don't you?

ASSASSIN #4
Be quiet.

MAXIMUS
If you miss the spot there'll be
blood everywhere. Quite a spray.

ASSASSINS #3
All right, where?

MAXIMUS
Here -- you don't want to hit the
vein on the neck --

Maximus points his bound hands at a spot on the back of his
neck.

MAXIMUS (cont’d)
Put the point of your sword here...
you want one, good blow right at
this spot --

Assassin #3 dutifully puts the point of his sword on the spot
on Maximus' neck.

A grave mistake.
32.

Maximus instantly grabs the blade of the sword with his hands
and yanks it from Assassin #3 -- EXPLODING up -- his hands
are bleeding but he tosses the sword into the air and catches
it -- swings the sword with brutal efficiency -- decapitating
both assassins --
Genres: ["Action","Drama"]

Summary Maximus is betrayed by Quintus and sentenced to death, but he tricks the assassins into showing him where to strike on his neck and then seizes their sword to escape.
Strengths
  • Intense action
  • Emotional depth
  • Character development
Weaknesses
  • Some dialogue may feel slightly cliched

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene is highly impactful, combining intense action with emotional depth and a significant plot development.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of betrayal and retribution is executed effectively, adding layers of complexity to the characters and advancing the plot.

Plot: 9

The plot takes a major turn with the betrayal of Maximus and his subsequent fight for survival, setting up further conflict and character development.

Originality: 9

The scene presents a fresh approach to the betrayal and survival theme, with unexpected twists and turns that keep the audience engaged. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds to the originality of the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters, especially Maximus, Quintus, and the assassins, are well-developed and their actions drive the emotional impact of the scene.

Character Changes: 8

Maximus undergoes a significant change as he transitions from a position of vulnerability to a position of power and retribution.

Internal Goal: 8

Maximus' internal goal is to protect his family and survive the betrayal he is facing. This reflects his deep desire for justice and revenge, as well as his fear of losing his loved ones.

External Goal: 7

Maximus' external goal is to escape the assassins and survive the attempt on his life. This reflects the immediate challenge he is facing and the danger he is in.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict in the scene is high-stakes and personal, driving the tension and emotional impact.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with Maximus facing multiple threats and challenges that keep the audience on edge. The uncertainty of the outcome adds to the tension and drama of the scene.

High Stakes: 9

The stakes are extremely high as Maximus faces betrayal and death, leading to a fight for survival and justice.

Story Forward: 9

The scene propels the story forward by introducing a major conflict and setting up future events.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the unexpected turn of events, such as Maximus turning the tables on the assassins and taking control of the situation. The audience is kept guessing about the outcome.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

The philosophical conflict in this scene is between loyalty to Caesar and loyalty to honor and justice. Maximus' belief in doing what is right clashes with Quintus' loyalty to Caesar, leading to betrayal and conflict.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions through the betrayal of Maximus, his defiance in the face of death, and the intense action that follows.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is tense and impactful, revealing the motivations and emotions of the characters in a compelling way.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its intense action, suspenseful dialogue, and high stakes. The audience is drawn into Maximus' struggle for survival and revenge, keeping them on the edge of their seats.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by building tension and suspense gradually, leading to a climactic moment of action and resolution. The rhythm of the scene keeps the audience engaged and invested in the outcome.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The scene follows the expected formatting for its genre, with clear scene headings, action lines, and dialogue. The formatting enhances the readability and flow of the scene.

Structure: 8

The scene follows the expected structure for its genre, with a clear setup, conflict, and resolution. The pacing and rhythm of the scene contribute to its effectiveness in building tension and suspense.


Critique
  • The scene lacks a clear transition from the previous scenes, making it feel abrupt and disconnected from the overall narrative flow.
  • The dialogue between Maximus and Quintus feels forced and lacks depth, missing an opportunity to explore the emotional turmoil and conflict between the characters.
  • The actions of the Praetorian assassins seem unrealistic and poorly executed, detracting from the tension and suspense of the scene.
  • Maximus' sudden realization about his family's fate feels contrived and lacks proper buildup or emotional impact.
  • The interaction between Maximus and the assassins lacks authenticity and fails to create a sense of urgency or danger.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding a brief transition or context to connect this scene more smoothly with the previous ones.
  • Focus on developing the dialogue between Maximus and Quintus to delve deeper into their conflicting emotions and motivations.
  • Revisit the actions of the Praetorian assassins to make them more believable and engaging for the audience.
  • Build up the revelation about Maximus' family in a more gradual and impactful way to heighten the emotional stakes of the scene.
  • Enhance the interaction between Maximus and the assassins to create a more intense and suspenseful atmosphere.



Scene 11 -  Maximus Battles Assassins and Escapes
EXT. FOREST ROAD - DAWN

On the road above, the other two Assassins are on their
horses, waiting.

They hear a quick yelp from below. And then nothing.

Assassin #1 nods for Assassin #2 to check on the execution.
Assassin #2 canters off the road and down the hill...


EXT. FOREST - BELOW THE ROAD - DAWN

Assassin #2 canters down the hillside.

He senses movement behind him -- spins around, drawing his
sword -- too late --

Maximus throws a sword -- it flashes through the air -- and
into Assassin #2.


EXT. FOREST ROAD - DAWN

Assassin #1 waits on his horse. He hears the commotion below
-- spins his horse around just as Maximus bursts to the road.
He stands with a sword.

Assassin #1 spurs his horse and gallops toward Maximus at
full speed -- Maximus crouches and prepares --

Assassin #1 and Maximus swirl together for an instant -- both
slashing brutally --

Assassin #1 continues to gallop past Maximus. He stops. He
looks down. A wound in his stomach. He falls off his horse.
Dead.

Maximus has also been wounded -- a deep gash on his side. He
fights the pain as he moves toward the horses...
33.


EXT. FOREST ROAD - DAY

Maximus is galloping through the forest at lightning speed,
leading four horses behind him. The gash in his side
bleeding.


EXT. TENT CITY - DAY

A gloomy day. Emperor Commodus stands before the assembled
Felix Regiment. The soldiers are already uneasy. They note
Quintus standing by Commodus, wearing Maximus' seal of
office. Where is Maximus?

COMMODUS
Even as the Gods curse this dark
day with clouds, so too does the
sun begin to shine forth on a
promised tomorrow. Even as we
mourn the passing of our father, so
too do we celebrate the coming of a
bright, new age for Rome. At my
side, brothers, you shall pull
fresh glories from the heavens. At
my side, brothers, you shall know
the adoration of the Gods. Doubly-
dark is this day because my friend,
your noble commander Maximus
Meridas, has been called to Rome to
deal with urgent matters of
state...

Titus glances quickly to Gallus, whose hand is bandaged from
surgery. They know this cannot be true.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
Until his promised return I
appointed Quintus Domitian to serve
in his stead. I salute you,
Legionnaires!

QUINTUS
(raising his sword)
Hail, Caesar!

The Felix Regiment responds, many unsure.

FELIX REGIMENT
Hail, Caesar!
34.

Commodus strides off and the Felix Regiment slowly disbands,
muttering to one another in confusion. Titus and Gallus go to
Quintus.

TITUS
Quintus, what is -- ?

QUINTUS
(firmly)
Don't speak of it. Never speak of
it.

He stalks off. Titus and Gallus, concerned, watch him follow
after Commodus.
Genres: ["Historical","Drama","Action"]

Summary Maximus kills two assassins sent to kill him and escapes on horseback. Meanwhile, Commodus announces Maximus has been called to Rome and appoints Quintus Domitian to lead in his place, causing confusion and unease among the soldiers.
Strengths
  • Intense action sequences
  • Emotional depth of characters
  • Complex power dynamics
Weaknesses
  • Some predictable plot developments
  • Slightly cliched dialogue in parts

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene is highly engaging, with a mix of emotional depth, action, and tension that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of betrayal, loyalty, and power dynamics is well-executed, setting up a complex web of relationships and motivations.

Plot: 9

The plot advances significantly with the betrayal of Maximus, the rise of Commodus, and the shifting power dynamics within the Roman Empire.

Originality: 9

The scene introduces a unique setting and characters, with a fresh approach to action and combat sequences. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds to the originality.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed, with conflicting motivations and emotional depth that drives the narrative forward.

Character Changes: 8

Maximus undergoes a significant change as he is betrayed and faces the consequences of his loyalty, setting up a new arc for his character.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is likely survival and victory in combat. This reflects their need for self-preservation and their desire to overcome their enemies.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal is to defeat the Assassins and escape the forest. This reflects the immediate challenge they are facing and the danger they are in.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The scene is filled with internal and external conflicts, driving the tension and drama to a high level.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with the characters facing physical and emotional challenges that are difficult to overcome. The audience is kept on edge, unsure of the outcome.

High Stakes: 9

The stakes are high as Maximus faces betrayal, Commodus rises to power, and the fate of the Roman Empire hangs in the balance.

Story Forward: 9

The scene propels the story forward with major plot developments, setting the stage for the next act of the narrative.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable because of the sudden twists and turns in the characters' actions and the unexpected outcomes of the conflicts.

Philosophical Conflict: 6

There is a philosophical conflict between the values of loyalty and betrayal. Commodus is deceiving the soldiers by claiming Maximus is away on state matters, while in reality, he is plotting against him. This challenges the soldiers' beliefs in their leader and the truth.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions from the audience, particularly through the betrayal of Maximus and the emotional turmoil of the characters.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is impactful, revealing the characters' inner conflicts and motivations while driving the plot forward.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its intense action, high stakes, and fast-paced narrative. The reader is drawn into the characters' struggles and conflicts.

Pacing: 9

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by maintaining a sense of urgency and momentum, keeping the reader engaged and invested in the characters' fates.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The scene follows the expected formatting for its genre, with clear scene headings and action descriptions.

Structure: 8

The scene follows the expected structure for its genre, with clear action beats and character motivations driving the narrative forward.


Critique
  • The scene lacks a clear transition from the previous scene, leaving the audience slightly disoriented as to the immediate context.
  • The action sequences are well-described but could benefit from more emotional depth and character development to engage the audience further.
  • The dialogue is minimal and could be enhanced to provide more insight into the characters' motivations and relationships.
  • The injuries sustained by Maximus and the assassins are mentioned but not fully explored in terms of impact on the characters' physical and emotional states.
  • The scene ends abruptly, leaving the fate of Maximus and the implications of his escape unclear.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding a brief recap or transition at the beginning of the scene to clarify the immediate aftermath of the previous events.
  • Enhance the emotional depth of the characters by incorporating internal thoughts, reactions, and dialogue that reveal their motivations and relationships.
  • Explore the physical and emotional consequences of the injuries sustained by Maximus and the assassins to add depth to the action sequences.
  • Provide a clearer resolution or cliffhanger at the end of the scene to maintain suspense and drive the narrative forward.
  • Consider incorporating more descriptive language and sensory details to immerse the audience in the forest setting and the intensity of the action.



Scene 12 -  The Destruction of Maximus' Home
INT. MAXIMUS' TENT - DAY

Lucilla stands in Maximus' tent. She looks around. She
gently touches his Lorica Segmentata. Her fingertips move
along the contours of his armor. She tries to retain her
neutral demeanor.

She notes his "ancestors" on the small alter.


EXT. HILLSIDE - NIGHT

Maximus continues to gallop, he is on a different horse. He
leads only two horses now.


EXT. VINEYARD - DAY

Maximus' home in Spain is beautiful beyond measure.

We see verdant farmlands and vineyards and a spacious house
nestled amid gently rolling hills.

Maximus' eight-year-old SON is in a paddock playing with his
pony. He stops, sees something. Over a hill, he can just
glimpse a battle flag, approaching.

He screams with joy and runs toward the flag as he calls:

MAXIMUS' SON
MOTHER! MOTHER! FATHER'S HOME!

Maximus' WIFE emerges from the house, drying her hands on a
cloth and smiles.

Maximus' Son races toward the flag. He can just see the
soldiers beginning to appear over the hill.
35.
Not a Roman Legion at all. Twenty Praetorians canter over
the hill. Maximus' Son stops, confused.


EXT. OLIVE GROVE - DAY

Maximus is galloping up a hill, leading only one horse now.
The horse he is on is exhausted, spent, foam coats its neck.
It can't make it.

The horse collapses and Maximus falls. He immediately leaps
onto the remaining horse and continues riding up the hill.


EXT. HILLS AROUND VINEYARD - SUNSET

Maximus is racing over the countryside, galloping in a
frenzy. His wound is bleeding profusely, coating the side of
his horse.

He rears the horse to a stop for a moment. Over a hill he
can see thick black smoke rising. He spurs the horse and
gallops over the hill...


EXT. VINEYARD - SUNSET

And his worst nightmares are realized.

His home and his vineyards have been destroyed. The earth
has been scorched and his house is still smoldering. He
rides up to the house and practically falls off the horse.

He pulls himself up and walks past the smoldering debris of
his house, fearing what he knows he will find.

He sees the bodies of servants scattered about in the ruins.
He sees a Praetorian battle flag.

He continues on, his wound bleeding more with every tortured
step. He finally stops. He stares up.

His wife and his son have been crucified and burnt. They are
nothing more than grotesquely twisted, charred shapes.

Maximus instantly collapses to his knees -- he howls out his
torment in a heartrending keen of despair as he coats his
face in the ashes of his dead world. He sinks into
unconsciousness, praying for death.
36.
Genres: ["Drama","Action","Tragedy"]

Summary Lucilla visits Maximus' tent and touches his armor. Maximus rides to his home in Spain, but finds it destroyed by Praetorians. He sees the bodies of his wife and son, who have been crucified and burnt. He howls in despair and collapses.
Strengths
  • Emotional depth
  • Intense conflict
  • Powerful character motivations
Weaknesses
  • Graphic violence
  • Predictable revenge plot

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene is emotionally impactful, well-paced, and sets up a significant turning point in the story with the protagonist's family being brutally killed.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of loss, betrayal, and revenge is effectively portrayed through the destruction of Maximus' home and the death of his family, setting up a powerful motivation for the character.

Plot: 9

The plot advances significantly with the death of Marcus Aurelius, Maximus' rejection of Commodus, and the brutal murder of Maximus' family, setting the stage for a major conflict.

Originality: 8

The scene offers a fresh approach to the familiar theme of revenge and loss, with a focus on the internal conflict of the protagonist. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds to the originality.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters, especially Maximus and Lucilla, show depth and emotional complexity in their interactions, adding layers to the unfolding tragedy.

Character Changes: 9

Maximus undergoes a significant transformation as he transitions from a loyal soldier to a vengeful warrior driven by loss and betrayal.

Internal Goal: 9

Maximus' internal goal in this scene is to protect his family and home. This reflects his deeper need for security, love, and belonging.

External Goal: 8

Maximus' external goal in this scene is to survive the attack on his home and seek revenge on the Praetorian soldiers. This reflects the immediate challenge he is facing.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict reaches a peak with the brutal murder of Maximus' family and his subsequent quest for revenge, setting up a high-stakes confrontation.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with Maximus facing overwhelming odds and a devastating loss.

High Stakes: 10

The stakes are incredibly high with the brutal murder of Maximus' family, leading to a quest for revenge that will have far-reaching consequences.

Story Forward: 9

The scene propels the story forward by setting up major conflicts, character motivations, and the protagonist's quest for revenge.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the unexpected and tragic turn of events, keeping the audience on edge.

Philosophical Conflict: 8

The philosophical conflict evident in this scene is the clash between loyalty to Rome and loyalty to family. Maximus must navigate his duty as a Roman soldier with his desire to protect his loved ones.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 10

The scene is highly emotionally impactful, evoking strong feelings of grief, anger, and shock in the audience.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue effectively conveys the emotional turmoil and tension between the characters, particularly in the confrontation between Maximus and Lucilla.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its intense emotional content, dramatic events, and the audience's investment in Maximus' journey.

Pacing: 9

The pacing of the scene effectively builds tension and emotion, leading to a powerful climax.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of the scene is clear and easy to follow, adhering to the expected format for its genre.

Structure: 9

The structure of the scene effectively conveys the escalating tension and emotional impact of the events. It follows the expected format for its genre.


Critique
  • The scene transitions abruptly from Lucilla in Maximus' tent to Maximus galloping on a hillside, which can be disorienting for the audience.
  • There is a lack of emotional depth and development in Lucilla's character as she interacts with Maximus' belongings. More insight into her feelings and motivations would enhance the scene.
  • The description of Maximus' home being destroyed is powerful, but the impact could be heightened by delving deeper into Maximus' emotional turmoil and devastation.
  • The transition from Maximus racing over the countryside to the realization of his family's fate feels rushed and could benefit from more build-up and emotional intensity.
  • The scene ends abruptly with Maximus collapsing in despair, leaving the audience hanging without a resolution or closure.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding a smoother transition between Lucilla in Maximus' tent and Maximus galloping on the hillside to improve the flow of the scene.
  • Develop Lucilla's character further by exploring her emotions and intentions as she interacts with Maximus' belongings, adding depth to her actions.
  • Enhance the emotional impact of Maximus discovering his destroyed home by delving into his internal turmoil and devastation, allowing the audience to connect more deeply with his grief.
  • Build up the tension and emotional intensity leading to the moment of Maximus realizing his family's fate, creating a more impactful and poignant scene.
  • Provide a more conclusive ending to the scene by offering some resolution or closure to Maximus' emotional turmoil, giving the audience a sense of completion.



Scene 13 -  Sold into Slavery
EXT. VINEYARD - DAY

An unusual jingling sound is heard. Maximus appears to be
dead, his gaping wound beginning to fester.

The source of the jingling becomes clear when we see the feet
of Bedouin brigands, with delicate anklets, shuffling around
him. A hand touches his sandals. Rich sandals. Another
touches his tunic. Good cloth.

Suddenly Maximus groans. The hands stop. He's alive. A bit
of quick language in an unknown tongue.

Then the hands grab Maximus and drag him away.


EXT. SLAVE WAGON TRAIN - DAY

Maximus' eyes slowly open --

Inches away from his face -- a lion roars --

Maximus lurches back.

He looks around to realize he is in a filthy slave wagon.
Three other wagons slowly move over the desert landscape.
Exotic animals are caged in pens or led alongside the wagons:
lions, panthers, zebras, a giraffe. A dozen slaves are
chained together alongside sacks of spices and other cargo.
Bedouin slave traders jabber in a surreal babel of foreign
tongues.

And someone is looking at him. JUBA, a striking African, is
gazing at him impassively as he chews something. Juba is
also chained.

MAXIMUS
(weakly)
Am I in Hades?

JUBA
Yes.

Juba spits what he has been chewing into his hands and moves
to Maximus.

JUBA (cont’d)
For your wound... Maximus stares at
him.
37.

JUBA (cont’d)
(nods)
For your wound.

Maximus looks down -- the bloody wound at his side.

Juba carefully places his poultice over the wound -- Maximus
hisses in pain -- Juba massages the poultice into the wound
gently as:

JUBA (cont’d)
If you die in the wagons they feed
you to the lions... The lions are
worth more than we are. I think we
are worth more than the zebras
though. So they don't feed us to
them.

Maximus stares at him. Juba looks down at him with the
barest hint of a smile.

JUBA (cont’d)
I'm not sure about the giraffe.


EXT. SLAVE MARKET - DAY

The heat of Morocco is unlike anything Maximus has ever
known. Shimmering heat waves undulate over the sand.

The provincial market is bustling like the proverbial
anthill. Slave traders and dealers and merchants move
around, all talking very quickly and very emphatically.

Maximus, Juba and a number of other slaves are on display,
poked and prodded and fondled. Their BEDOUIN SLAVE TRADER
sings out their praises to any passers.

The crowd parts almost magically for the dramatic arrival of
PROXIMO. Proximo is a large man of immense appetites. He has
the ferocious appearance of a true pirate. Two slaves follow
behind him and impotently swat at flies with switches.

SLAVE TRADER
Proximo, my old friend, see what I
have for you today -- !

Proximo SLAMS a fist into the Slave Trader's face. The Slave
Trader sails back.

PROXIMO
Those giraffes you sold me won't
mate!
(MORE)
38.
PROXIMO(cont'd)
All they do is run around not
mating! YOU SOLD ME EUNUCH
GIRAFFES!!

The Slave Trader pulls himself up, hugely obsequious.

SLAVE TRADER
I will make it up to you, Master.
It's bargain day for you! Look,
look, look -- I have two lions and
a panther -- hear how they roar for
you! "Bring me home, Proximo!"

Proximo examines the animals.

PROXIMO
How much for the lot?

SLAVE TRADER
For you -- 8,000 sesterces.

PROXIMO
For me -- 6,000 sesterces and I
want to see their balls first. And
you throw in those two slaves.

SLAVE TRADER
(moves to Maximus)
What about this one? Look at the
arms!

Proximo moves to Maximus. The Slave Trader forces open
Maximus' mouth.

PROXIMO
Good teeth --

Proximo notes the many old battle scars on Maximus' body.

PROXIMO (cont’d)
Where did you get those scars?

Maximus doesn't respond.

PROXIMO (cont’d)
Are you a soldier?

Maximus doesn't respond.

PROXIMO (cont’d)
Do you speak? --
(he roars back to a slave)
KEEP THOSE DAMN FLIES OFF ME!
(MORE)
39.
PROXIMO(cont'd)
(back to Maximus) )
He's dying.

SLAVE TRADER
1,000 sesterces.

PROXIMO
My ass...
(moves to Juba)
You throw in this one and we'll
make it 7,000 sesterces for the
whole lot.

SLAVE TRADER
I have to eat, Master! He's my
finest, I couldn't let him go as
part of the lot for less than 9,000
total...
(back to Maximus)
I tell you this one is prime. He's
a Spaniard and killed fourteen of
my men before he could be subdued!

Proximo looks at Maximus, notes the many battle scars again.
The scars, and something he senses in Maximus' eyes, is
enough for Proximo to consider it.

PROXIMO
(to trader)
All right, let's see.

The Slave Trader and his colleagues grab Maximus and bustle
him across the market, unlocking his chains. Maximus has no
idea what's going on.

In the center of the market place, a veritable GIANT of a man
sits on a small stool, a wooden sword in his hand. He is
hunched over and chained to the ground by a ten foot chain
shackled to his ankle. A think metal helmet is riveted
around his entire head, only long turfs of hair emerging.
His dim eyes stare listlessly through a slot in the helmet.

The Slave Trader puts a wooden sword in Maximus' hand and
shoves him toward the Giant. The Giant stands. He towers
over Maximus.

The Giant suddenly swings his sword -- he moves with
remarkable quickness -- Maximus makes no attempt to block the
blow -- it sends him flying to the ground.

Maximus pulls himself up.

The Giant moves in and hits him again -- Maximus recoils --
the Giant hits him again -- Maximus falls.
40.

Maximus pulls himself up.

The Giant moves in again -- he slams him a few more times --
Maximus makes no attempt to protect himself -- he falls.

Maximus pulls himself up. The Giant is about to attack again -
-

PROXIMO (cont’d)
(to Slave Trader)
That's enough.

SLAVE TRADER
STOP! STOP!

His colleagues race into the ring and haul the Giant away
from Maximus. The Giant quietly sits back on his stool.

Proximo studies Maximus for a moment and then glances to the
Slave Trader.

PROXIMO
I'll give you 500 sesterces.

SLAVE TRADER
No -- no -- 1,000!

PROXIMO
(laughs)
Come, don't quibble with your old
friend. I'll take the lions, the
panther, the Numidian and this one
for 7,000. And I'll buy you the
best whore in the town for two
nights. She's an enormous mountain
of flesh who craves a stern hand.

SLAVE TRADER
How could I say no to my old friend
Proximo?
Genres: ["Historical Fiction","Action","Drama"]

Summary Maximus, wounded and enslaved, is forced to fight a giant in a slave market. Proximo, a slave trader, rescues Maximus and purchases him, Juba, lions, a panther, and a Numidian for 7,000 sesterces.
Strengths
  • Intense atmosphere
  • Realistic portrayal of slavery
  • Introduction of new character Proximo
Weaknesses
  • Minimal dialogue
  • Limited character interaction

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively sets a dark and intense tone, introducing a new setting and character while advancing the plot in a significant way.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of slavery and the introduction of Proximo as a key character are well executed, adding depth to the story.

Plot: 8

The plot advances as Maximus is sold into slavery, setting up new challenges and conflicts for the character.

Originality: 9

The scene introduces a fresh take on the theme of slavery and survival, with unique character dynamics and moral conflicts. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds to the originality.


Character Development

Characters: 7

The introduction of Proximo adds complexity to the character dynamics, but Maximus remains the central focus.

Character Changes: 7

Maximus undergoes a significant change as he transitions from a respected general to a slave, facing new challenges and threats.

Internal Goal: 8

Maximus' internal goal is to survive and possibly escape from his current situation. This reflects his deeper need for freedom, safety, and a sense of purpose.

External Goal: 7

Maximus' external goal is to avoid being sold as a slave and to potentially find a way to regain his freedom. This reflects the immediate challenge he faces in the slave market.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

The conflict is high as Maximus faces the brutal reality of slavery and the challenges it presents.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with Maximus facing physical and moral challenges that test his resilience and character.

High Stakes: 9

The stakes are high as Maximus is sold into slavery, facing an uncertain and dangerous future.

Story Forward: 9

The scene moves the story forward by introducing a new setting, character, and conflict that will impact the narrative.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the unexpected twists in the plot, such as Maximus' encounter with the Giant and Proximo's decision to buy him.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

The philosophical conflict is evident in the treatment of slaves as commodities and the moral implications of buying and selling human beings. This challenges Maximus' beliefs about honor, dignity, and justice.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions of despair and hopelessness, especially with Maximus' situation.

Dialogue: 6

The dialogue is minimal but serves its purpose in conveying the harsh reality of the slave market.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its intense action, moral dilemmas, and dynamic character interactions.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene effectively builds tension and suspense, keeping the audience engaged and invested in Maximus' journey.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The formatting of the scene is clear and easy to follow, with proper scene headings and descriptions.

Structure: 8

The scene follows the expected structure for its genre, with clear transitions between locations and well-paced action.


Critique
  • The scene starts with a strong visual of Maximus appearing dead in his vineyard, which sets a somber tone. However, the transition to Bedouin brigands and their interaction with Maximus feels abrupt and disjointed.
  • The dialogue between Maximus and Juba is intriguing and adds depth to their characters, but the sudden shift to Proximo's arrival at the slave market feels rushed and lacks smooth transition.
  • The introduction of Proximo is interesting, but the scene could benefit from more development of his character and his motivations for buying Maximus and the other slaves.
  • The fight between Maximus and the Giant is intense and showcases Maximus' resilience, but the resolution of Proximo buying Maximus feels somewhat anticlimactic and could be more impactful.
  • Overall, the scene has potential but needs better pacing, smoother transitions, and more depth in character development to fully engage the audience.
Suggestions
  • Consider refining the transition between the Bedouin brigands and Proximo's arrival to create a more cohesive flow.
  • Develop Proximo's character further to add depth and motivation to his actions in buying Maximus and the other slaves.
  • Enhance the climax of the scene where Proximo buys Maximus to make it more impactful and satisfying for the audience.
  • Work on pacing and smooth transitions throughout the scene to maintain the audience's engagement and flow of the narrative.
  • Focus on character development to create more depth and complexity in the interactions between Maximus, Juba, and Proximo.



Scene 14 -  Arrival at the Gladiator School
EXT. PROXIMO'S SCHOOL - DAY

Maximus and Juba are crammed into a wagon with about ten
other slaves, including a very scared and reedy SCRIBE. Other
wagons are filled with exotic animals, including several
lions.

The wagons move through a crowded casbah and are taken
through an imposing set of gates to...
41.


EXT. PROXIMO'S SCHOOL - COMPOUND - DAY

An open compound in Proximo's school. On one side of the
compound is a series of cages filled with wild animals of
every description -- including Proximo's two hapless
giraffes.

Proximo's house slaves begin unloading the newly purchased
exotic animals into cages as Maximus and the new slaves are
unloaded. Heavily armed guards supervise everything.

But Proximo's slaves are having a bit of a problem with one
of the new lions -- it growls and resists them.

Without the slightest hesitation, Proximo thunders to the
lion and grabs it by the mane -- manhandling it into a cage.

PROXIMO
COME ON, YOU FILTHY BEAST!

He kicks the lion in the rear as he shoves it into the cage.

Proximo's provincial school resembles nothing so much as a
seedy prison. The fading grandeur of the decaying
battlements and the sweeping North African architecture only
slightly mitigate the brutal feel of the place.

And if Maximus had any doubts as to Proximo's profession --
all doubts are washed away when he sees the compound.

Twenty GLADIATORS are working out in the compound -- hacking
at practice dummies and sparring. The many heavily armed
guards oversee everything. The gladiators stop working out
as they see the new slaves enter. They eye their potential
new opponents warily.

One huge, glowering gladiator -- VIBIUS -- watches with
particular interest. His eye is quickly drawn to the most
obvious athlete: Juba.

The new slaves are herded to the middle of the compound and
house slaves immediately begin throwing buckets of water on
them, cleaning them.

Meanwhile, Proximo shrugs off his cloak. A slave brings him
wine as he give his "welcoming speech" to the new slaves:

PROXIMO (cont’d)
Slaves. I am Proximo, trainer of
gladiators. You live and die at my
pleasure.
(MORE)
42.
PROXIMO(cont'd)
Fight well and you will live.
Fight poorly and you will die. It
is better to live.

Slaves now toss thick handfuls of powdered lime on the new
slaves -- they cough and clench their eyes shut, the lime
coats and stings their wet bodies.

PROXIMO (cont’d)
Here you will be trained in the art
of combat. Here you will be given
the tools to survive. Please my
patrons in the arena and all the
gifts of the world will be showered
upon you. Imagine riches beyond
your paltry dreams of riches!
Imagine fame beyond your rude
understanding of the word! All
this can belong to the select few
who prove their worth in the arena.

Slaves throw more water on the new slaves -- washing off the
lime.

PROXIMO (cont’d)
If... on the other hand... you
disappoint me... you will be
dismembered and fed to my jackals
limb by limb.

He gazes evenly at his new acquisitions.

PROXIMO (cont’d)
And my jackals are always hungry.

He strides off and the guards shove the new gladiators toward
their cells.
Genres: ["Historical Drama","Action","Adventure"]

Summary Maximus and Juba, along with other slaves, are thrown into the harsh reality of Proximo's gladiator school. Proximo's ruthless authority sets the tone for their brutal training and survival in the arena.
Strengths
  • Effective establishment of tone and setting
  • Compelling introduction to the world of gladiators
  • Strong character dynamics and conflicts
Weaknesses
  • Potential for cliched dialogue or character interactions

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively establishes the harsh and unforgiving world of gladiators, creating a sense of foreboding and setting up future conflicts and character development.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of introducing Maximus to the brutal world of gladiators is compelling and sets the stage for his transformation and struggles in the arena.

Plot: 7

The plot focuses on Maximus' introduction to Proximo's school and the harsh realities of his new life as a gladiator, setting up future conflicts and challenges.

Originality: 9

The scene introduces the audience to the brutal world of gladiators in a fresh and engaging way, with vivid descriptions and intense dialogue that feel authentic and original.


Character Development

Characters: 8

The characters, especially Proximo and Maximus, are well-defined and their interactions showcase the power dynamics and conflicts within the gladiator school.

Character Changes: 7

Maximus undergoes a significant change as he transitions from a Roman general to a gladiator, facing new challenges and conflicts in his quest for survival.

Internal Goal: 8

Maximus's internal goal in this scene is likely to survive and find a way to escape from the brutal world of gladiators. He may also be seeking revenge for the death of his family.

External Goal: 9

Maximus's external goal in this scene is to adapt to his new life as a gladiator, impress Proximo, and survive the harsh training and battles in the arena.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict between the slaves and their brutal training, as well as the power dynamics within the gladiator school, create a tense and intense atmosphere.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with Proximo's brutal training methods and the harsh reality of life as a gladiator posing significant challenges for Maximus and the other slaves.

High Stakes: 9

The high stakes of survival and power within the gladiator school create tension and urgency in the scene.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by introducing Maximus to his new role as a gladiator and setting up future conflicts and challenges.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because the audience doesn't know how Maximus will adapt to his new life as a gladiator, or what challenges and obstacles he will face.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

The philosophical conflict in this scene is the brutal reality of life as a gladiator, where survival depends on fighting well and pleasing the audience in the arena, contrasting with the slaves' desire for freedom and dignity.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 7

The scene evokes feelings of fear, despair, and determination, setting up emotional stakes for Maximus and the other characters.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue effectively conveys the brutal and authoritarian nature of Proximo, setting the tone for the harsh world of gladiators.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because it introduces the audience to the brutal world of gladiators, sets up conflicts and goals for the protagonist, and creates tension and suspense.

Pacing: 9

The pacing of the scene is effective in building tension and suspense, with a balance of action, dialogue, and description that keeps the audience engaged.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The scene follows the expected formatting for a screenplay, with clear scene headings, action lines, and dialogue.

Structure: 9

The scene follows the expected structure for a gladiator-themed screenplay, with a clear introduction of the setting, characters, and conflicts.


Critique
  • The scene effectively sets the tone of brutality and harsh reality in Proximo's school, but it could benefit from more character development and depth.
  • The introduction of Proximo as a brutal trainer of gladiators is clear, but his character could be further explored to add complexity and depth to the story.
  • The interaction between Maximus, Juba, and the other slaves lacks emotional depth and could be enhanced to create a stronger connection with the audience.
  • The dialogue from Proximo is cliched and lacks subtlety, making his character come across as one-dimensional.
  • The visual descriptions of the compound and the gladiators working out are vivid, but more attention to detail in describing the emotions and reactions of the characters would enhance the scene.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more layers to Proximo's character to make him more nuanced and intriguing.
  • Focus on developing the relationships between Maximus, Juba, and the other slaves to create a more engaging and emotionally resonant scene.
  • Revise the dialogue to make it more authentic and less stereotypical, adding depth to the characters' interactions.
  • Enhance the visual descriptions by including more details about the characters' emotions and reactions to create a more immersive experience for the audience.
  • Consider adding subplots or conflicts within the scene to increase tension and keep the audience engaged.



Scene 15 -  The Transport to the Colosseum
INT. PROXIMO'S SCHOOL - MAXIMUS' CELL - NIGHT

Maximus and Juba share a small, filthy cell. The cell door
faces the open compound. Across the compound they can see
the much more comfortable cells of the "star" gladiators such
as Vibius.

They both sit on the floor, leaning against the wall. Juba is
eating a bowl of food with a wooden spoon. Maximus' bowl and
spoon are at his side, he has not touched them.

JUBA
Have you killed a man before?
Maximus does not respond.
43.

JUBA (cont’d)
You should eat. You'll need your
strength tomorrow.

Maximus does not respond.

JUBA (cont’d)
I've never killed a man. But I
think you have.

Maximus does not respond.

JUBA (cont’d)
I almost killed once. The Romans
destroyed my village. I was with a
hunting party and when we
returned... I would have killed
every Roman in the world.

A long beat.

JUBA (cont’d)
If you don't eat you will die.

Maximus does not respond.

A beat.

JUBA (cont’d)
In the village I come from there
was a man once. He went fishing
one day and his boat was attacked
by crocodiles. One of them ate his
leg. He pulled himself to the
shore and a lion attacked him. It
ate one of his arms. He dragged
himself through the desert on the
way home and a scorpion stung his
eye. So he only had one eye. When
he reached the village I sat with
him. I said, "You have lost a leg,
an arm and one eye. You must have
a mighty will to live." He said,
"No, Lord, it's just better than
the alternative."

Maximus finally looks at him.

JUBA (cont’d)
Life is a gift from our fathers to
us. Who are you to give it up for
lack of lifting a spoon?
44.

Maximus does not respond.


EXT. PROXIMO'S SCHOOL - COMPOUND - NIGHT

Maximus and Juba are being observed. Proximo stands in the
shadows of the compound and watches intently.


EXT. SLAVE WAGON - PROVINCIAL STREETS - DAY

Blood appears to be flowing across an oxen's back. But the
blood is too rich, too red.

The oxen are pulling an open slave wagon through the crowded
streets of the town. Hanging above the street is dyed wool
drying in the sun. Vermilion and crimson dyes drip down and
splash across the oxen -- and splash across the gladiators.

Maximus, Juba, the formidable Vibius are chained in the back
of the wagon. Also the frightened Scribe.

Proximo and a few of his guards drive the wagon. Proximo has
an umbrella over him, colored with years of dripping dyes.

They pass a banner honoring Vibius, the star of Proximo's
stable.

Meanwhile, the terrified Scribe is almost weeping, chattering
nervously to Vibius, chained next to him:

SCRIBE
I know nothing of armaments and
warfare! I'm a scribe -- I write
down words! I can write down seven
languages --

VIBIUS
Be still.

SCRIBE
I don't -- how do you hold the
sword?! I've never held a sword!

VIBIUS
You point the sharp end at your
opponent and you shove it in his
guts.

SCRIBE
I can't -- I --

He suddenly vomits.
45.

VIBIUS
(calling to Proximo)
Proximo! You insult me with this
carrion! Chain him to someone
else!

PROXIMO
(calling back)
Don't worry, noble Vibius, he won't
be bothering you for long.

The Scribe begins to weep.

The crowds in the street jeer at the passing gladiators.
Occasionally throwing trash at them. A pack of children run
alongside the wagon, chanting:

CHILDREN
Dead guts! Dead guts! Dead guts!

Maximus watches the children for a moment and then another
sight draws his attention. Over some buildings he can see
vultures circling in the distance.
Genres: ["Drama","Action","Historical"]

Summary Maximus and Juba share a cramped and dirty cell, engaging in a conversation about killing and the value of life. Despite Juba's attempts to connect, Maximus remains withdrawn. Meanwhile, Proximo observes them from the shadows, ensuring that the gladiators face jeers and insults as they are transported through the streets. The scene ends with Maximus watching vultures circling in the distance, hinting at the impending danger and uncertainty that lies ahead.
Strengths
  • Emotional depth of characters
  • Impactful dialogue
  • Exploration of themes of survival and resilience
Weaknesses
  • Some cliched elements in character interactions
  • Predictable setup for upcoming conflicts

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively conveys the emotional depth of the characters and sets up the conflict and stakes for the upcoming events. The dialogue is impactful and the themes of survival and resilience are well-developed.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of survival and the will to live in the face of adversity is central to the scene. It sets the tone for the challenges the characters will face and establishes the harsh reality of life as a gladiator.

Plot: 7

The plot advances as Maximus and Juba are introduced to their new life as gladiators under Proximo's rule. The scene sets up the conflicts and challenges they will have to overcome, driving the narrative forward.

Originality: 9

The scene introduces a fresh perspective on the gladiator genre by focusing on internal conflicts and philosophical themes. The characters' actions and dialogue feel authentic and add depth to the narrative.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters of Maximus and Juba are well-developed, with their emotional struggles and resilience portrayed effectively. Their interactions and reactions to their new circumstances add depth to the scene.

Character Changes: 8

The characters of Maximus and Juba undergo significant emotional changes in the scene as they come to terms with their new reality as gladiators. Their resilience and determination are highlighted.

Internal Goal: 8

Maximus' internal goal in this scene is to come to terms with his past actions and find a reason to keep fighting for survival. His lack of response to Juba's questions and stories reflects his internal turmoil and guilt.

External Goal: 7

Maximus' external goal is to survive and navigate the brutal world of gladiators. He must find a way to adapt to his new environment and form alliances to increase his chances of survival.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 7

The scene introduces the conflicts and challenges the characters will have to overcome, setting up the tension and stakes for the upcoming events. The conflict between survival and despair is palpable.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with conflicting beliefs and motivations driving the character interactions. Maximus faces internal and external challenges that add complexity to the narrative.

High Stakes: 8

The stakes are high for the characters as they navigate their new life as gladiators, facing the challenges of survival and the harsh reality of their circumstances. The scene sets up the risks and dangers they will encounter.

Story Forward: 7

The scene moves the story forward by introducing the challenges and conflicts the characters will face as gladiators under Proximo's rule. It sets up the narrative for the upcoming events.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable due to the shifting power dynamics between the characters and the unexpected emotional revelations. The audience is kept on edge, unsure of how the interactions will unfold.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

The philosophical conflict in this scene revolves around the value of life and the will to survive. Juba's stories challenge Maximus' perspective on life and death, forcing him to reconsider his own beliefs.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes a strong emotional response from the audience, particularly in the portrayal of Maximus and Juba's struggles and resilience. The themes of survival and despair resonate deeply.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue in the scene is impactful, conveying the emotions and struggles of the characters effectively. It adds depth to the character interactions and sets up the tone for the upcoming events.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its intense emotional subtext, philosophical conflict, and character dynamics. The audience is drawn into the characters' struggles and motivations.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene is well-executed, with a gradual build-up of tension and emotional intensity. The rhythm of the dialogue and character interactions enhances the effectiveness of the scene.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The formatting of the scene adheres to the expected format for its genre, with clear scene descriptions and character actions. The visual elements are well-defined.

Structure: 8

The scene follows the expected structure for its genre, with a clear setup, conflict, and resolution. The pacing and rhythm contribute to the effectiveness of the scene.


Critique
  • The scene effectively sets up the contrast between Maximus and Juba, with Maximus being withdrawn and silent while Juba is talkative and engaging.
  • The dialogue between Juba and Maximus provides insight into their characters and backgrounds, adding depth to their relationship.
  • The visual descriptions of the compound, the slave wagon, and the crowded streets create a vivid and immersive setting for the scene.
  • The use of the Scribe's character adds a touch of humor and vulnerability amidst the harsh environment of the gladiators.
  • Proximo's observation of Maximus and Juba adds an element of mystery and tension to the scene.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more interaction between Maximus and Juba to further develop their dynamic and relationship.
  • Explore Maximus' internal thoughts and emotions more to give the audience a deeper understanding of his character.
  • Introduce more sensory details to enhance the atmosphere and immerse the audience in the setting.
  • Provide a clearer transition between the different locations and scenes to ensure smooth continuity.
  • Consider incorporating subtle hints or foreshadowing of future events to build anticipation and intrigue.



Scene 16 -  The Arena Battle
EXT. PROVINCIAL ARENA - DUGOUT - DAY

In the cramped holding area of the arena, a dugout beneath
the stands, Maximus and the other gladiators are waiting.

Proximo walks before them, giving a final "pep talk." He
gazes at them evenly, his eyes going from face to face.

PROXIMO
Some of you say you can't fight,
you won't fight... They all say
that... But one day you will pick
up a sword and thrust it into
another man. And the crowd will
cheer you and love you. And you
will love them for it. On that
day... you will be a gladiator.

He stops at Maximus.

PROXIMO (cont’d)
In this life, we all die. All we
can choose is how we die. And how
we are remembered. Be remembered
proudly.

Drums are heard from the arena. Proximo nods to a waiting
blacksmith.
46.
The blacksmith begins slamming shackles on the gladiator's
wrists -- chaining them together in teams of two by a chain
about four feet long.

The blacksmith is about to chain Maximus to the Scribe.

PROXIMO (cont’d)
No...
(he points to Juba)
... give the Spaniard to him. Give
the Scribe to Vibius.

Proximo nods to Vibius, who, for reasons we shall soon see,
makes no protest to being chained to the whimpering Scribe.

Proximo watches the blacksmith shackle Maximus and Juba
together and then strides off.

JUBA
(to Maximus)
Are we going to fight each other?


EXT. PROVINCIAL ARENA - DAY

Proximo sits in a box with several other GLADIATOR TRAINERS.
They drink wine and eat constantly. A perpetual chatter of
wagers and odds and side bets.

The arena is only sparsely attended this day.

PROXIMO
Make it 600 sesterces for each
decapitation.

TRAINER #1
How many strokes?

PROXIMO
Two.

TRAINER #1
For the great Vibius, one stroke.

PROXIMO
Done. 400 sesterces for two
strokes.

In the arena:

Proximo's chained teams enter the arena, five teams. Maximus
and Juba are chained together. Some of the small crowd
cheers for Vibius. He acknowledges the cheers. He is
chained to the weeping Scribe.
47.

In the box:

Trainer #1 laughs.

TRAINER #1
(re: Vibius)
Who's he with?

PROXIMO
A Greek Scribe.

TRAINER #1
I'll raise the wager.

PROXIMO
(smiles)
Give me odds, friend.

In the arena:

From the opposite end of the arena a dozen armored, very
scary Andabatae thunder into the arena. Some of the crowd
cheers.

The Andabatae immediately race for the chained teams and the
battle is on.

Vibius spins into action -- dragging the weeping Scribe after
him as he circles opponents and fights -- the Scribe is
almost instantly killed -- Vibius immediately hacks through
the Scribe's wrist and frees himself, as Proximo surely
intended. Vibius is now free to fight alone, swinging the
chain as an additional weapon.

Juba's eyes dart everywhere as he tries to move with Maximus -
- Maximus neither helps nor hinders -- allowing Juba to pull
him along --

Proximo, now that his star Vibius is safe, watched Maximus
and Juba closely.

Juba fights well, with a strange elegance, his body flowing
like liquid -- but he is inexperienced. He strikes a few
blows and then tries to move away -- finally he is in trouble
-- cornered -- a huge Andabata is slicing at him -- it is a
desperate battle -- Juba is losing -- his sword is slammed
away -- the Andabata raises his sword for the kill --

And Maximus strikes.
48.

With a sudden roar he EXPLODES into action -- he swings past
Juba and blocks the blow meant for Juba -- then he slashes
the Andabata -- killing him -- he pulls Juba after him as he
fights --

It is a dazzling display of Maximus' skill -- he moves
through the Andabatae at amazing speed -- spinning around
Juba and protecting him -- slashing ruthlessly -- pulling
Juba after him and commanding the battle -- Juba recovers a
sword and they fight together.

In the box:

Proximo watches, smiles. A gladiator is born.
Genres: ["Action","Drama"]

Summary Proximo's pep talk inspires gladiators to fight for honor and remembrance. Maximus, chained with Juba, showcases exceptional skills in the arena battle against Andabatae. Proximo is impressed by Maximus's performance.
Strengths
  • Strong character development
  • Intense action sequences
  • Emotional depth
Weaknesses
  • Some dialogue could be more impactful

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene effectively combines action, emotion, and character development to create a gripping and memorable sequence.


Story Content

Concept: 9

The concept of a gladiator rising from reluctance to skillful fighter is executed well, with strong themes of honor and sacrifice.

Plot: 8

The plot advances as Maximus and Juba are forced into the arena, setting the stage for Maximus' transformation and the challenges he will face as a gladiator.

Originality: 9

The scene presents a fresh take on the gladiatorial combat genre, with a focus on internal struggles and philosophical conflicts. The characters' actions and dialogue feel authentic and contribute to the originality of the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters, especially Maximus and Juba, are well-developed and their interactions drive the emotional and action-packed moments in the scene.

Character Changes: 8

Maximus undergoes a significant transformation from a reluctant fighter to a skilled gladiator, showcasing his growth and resilience.

Internal Goal: 9

Maximus' internal goal in this scene is to maintain his sense of honor and dignity in the face of the brutal gladiatorial world. He wants to be remembered proudly and make choices that align with his values.

External Goal: 8

Maximus' external goal is to survive the gladiatorial combat and protect his fellow gladiator, Juba. He must navigate the dangerous arena and fight against formidable opponents.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict between the gladiators and their opponents, as well as Maximus' internal struggle, creates tension and drives the action forward.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with the gladiators facing formidable opponents and internal conflicts. The audience is kept on edge, unsure of the outcome.

High Stakes: 9

The high stakes of life and death in the arena, as well as Maximus' personal journey, add intensity and urgency to the scene.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by establishing Maximus' new role as a gladiator and setting up future conflicts and challenges.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the unexpected actions of the characters and the shifting dynamics of the gladiatorial combat. The audience is kept on edge, unsure of the outcome.

Philosophical Conflict: 8

The philosophical conflict in this scene is between the brutal reality of gladiatorial combat and the gladiators' desire for honor and dignity. Proximo's speech highlights this conflict, as he talks about the inevitability of death and the importance of how one is remembered.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes a range of emotions, from despair to inspiration, as Maximus and Juba face the challenges of the arena.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue effectively conveys the emotions and motivations of the characters, but could be more impactful in certain moments.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its intense action, high stakes, and character development. The audience is drawn into the brutal world of the arena and invested in Maximus' struggle.

Pacing: 9

The pacing of the scene is fast-paced and intense, building tension and excitement as the gladiators face off in the arena.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of the scene is clear and easy to follow, with concise descriptions of action and dialogue.

Structure: 9

The scene follows the expected structure for a gladiatorial combat sequence, building tension and action effectively.


Critique
  • The scene lacks a clear transition from the previous scenes, making it feel disjointed from the rest of the script.
  • The dialogue from Proximo's pep talk feels cliched and lacks depth, making it less impactful.
  • The chaining of the gladiators together seems forced and contrived, lacking a natural flow in the storytelling.
  • The introduction of the Andabatae as opponents feels abrupt and could benefit from more build-up and context.
  • The sudden shift in Maximus's behavior from passive to aggressive during the battle with the Andabatae feels jarring and could be better developed.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding a smoother transition to connect this scene with the previous ones, providing better continuity.
  • Revise the dialogue in Proximo's pep talk to make it more authentic and impactful, reflecting the emotions and struggles of the gladiators.
  • Reconsider the chaining of the gladiators together to make it more organic to the story and character dynamics.
  • Build up the introduction of the Andabatae as opponents to create more tension and anticipation for the battle.
  • Develop Maximus's character arc more gradually to show a more believable progression from passivity to aggression during the battle.



Scene 17 -  Imperial Disregard
EXT. ROME - WAGON - DAY

SENATOR GRACCHUS, an imposing, moral and corpulent man in his
60's, is riding in a luxurious wagon with Senator Gaius.

And CAPTAIN MARCELLUS, the handsome Head of the Roman City
Guard.

Their wagon slowly maneuvers through the crowded streets of
Rome. The cosmopolitan bustle of the great urban center is
everywhere around them.

GRACCHUS
We have plague in the Hebrew
Quarter and it is spreading... we
have looting at the granaries... we
have so much filth in the Tiber
that the water is undrinkable... we
have Praetorian Guard units that
are demanding protection payments
from the merchants at the exchange -
-

MARCELLUS
My City Guard units have tried to
curtail these excesses but no
constabulary can police the entire
city. And the Praetorians
outnumber us two to one.

GRACCHUS
Rome dies as the Emperor plays at
beneficence. At least Nero gave us
music!

GAIUS
Do you think he'll listen to us?
49.

GRACCHUS
It is his duty to hear the will of
the Senate.

Their wagon stops -- hopelessly stuck in a massive traffic
jam of chariots, wagons and sedan chairs.

GRACCHUS (cont’d)
Not to mention the damn traffic!


INT. PALACE - THRONE ROOM - DAY

Emperor Commodus is standing before a group of male children
and their tutors in his throne room.

The throne room is still very much the province of his
father. Manuscripts and astronomical charts and papyrus
scrolls and wax tablets litter the heavy desk. A large bust
of Marcus Aurelius is in one corner.

Lucilla and Senator Falco are present. So too Senators
Gracchus and Gaius and Captain Marcellus.

A well-rehearsed child presents Commodus with a laurel
wreath.

CHILD
We honor Caesar with the laurel to
show our love and appreciation for
his benevolence.

COMMODUS
Caesar is honored to accept your
tribute, Citizen Scholar.

The child smiles and moves back to his fellows.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
(to all)
It is the most sacred duty of the
Emperor to oversee the education of
the young. If I could leave no
other legacy than the scholarship
of all children my life would be
blessed. Tutors, you hold the
future of Rome in your hands.
Teach them well so that they will
bring honor to the Empire. I
salute you.

Commodus actually bows before them, an unimaginable honor.
50.

The tutors bow in response and herd the children out.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
Look at them, Senators... my truest
gift to Rome.

GRACCHUS
Darling children, to be sure, now
if I may proceed?

COMMODUS
(sighs)
Very well...

Commodus moves to the desk, standing over it and gazing at
Marcus' scrolls as:

GRACCHUS
Caesar, your presence in Rome is an
invaluable opportunity to begin
correcting some of the ills that
have beset the city since your
father went to the wars. We would
like to --

COMMODUS
Peace, good Gracchus, peace...

Commodus slowly begins pushing Marcus' papyrus scrolls off
the desk to the floor, one by one, as:

COMMODUS (cont’d)
My beloved father was a careless
shepherd to his flock. I shall be
a good father to my children. I
shall remain in Rome and show them
how they are loved.

GRACCHUS
With respect, sire, the people
don't need love -- they need law.
The Senate has prepared a series of
protocols to begin addressing the
corruption in the city --
(Gaius hands him a scroll)
-- starting with basic sanitation
in the Hebrew Quarter. If Caesar
could study this and --

COMMODUS
You see that's the very problem,
isn't it, my old, old friend? My
father spent all his time at study.
(MORE)
51.
COMMODUS(cont'd)
At books and learning and
philosophy...

As Commodus speaks he moves to the chair behind the desk,
tries it, doesn't like it, nods to a slave. The chair is
whisked away.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
He spent his twilight hours reading
scrolls from the Senate. All the
while, the people were forgotten.

GRACCHUS
The Senate is the people.

COMMODUS
I doubt many of the people eat so
well as you do, Senator Gracchus...

As Commodus speaks he moves to the bust of Marcus, studies
it, doesn't like it, nods to a slave and the bust is whisked
away. Lucilla watches this closely.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
I doubt many of the people have
such splendid armor, Captain
Marcellus. Or such fine mistresses,
Senator Gaius. No... only their
true father knows what the people
need. I shall show them they are
loved. I shall hold them to my
bosom and embrace them tightly --

GRACCHUS
Have you ever embraced someone
dying of plague, sire?

Commodus stops. Looks at him. A lethal moment.

COMMODUS
No. But if you interrupt me one
more time I assure you that you
shall. I will emulate the immortal
Caesars of the past. I will give
the people what they truly want.
Starting this day I will draw all
of Rome to the Colosseum. I will
give them bread. And they will
want nothing more.

Startled looks between Gracchus, Gaius and Marcellus.

GRACCHUS
You want to hold games?
52.

COMMODUS
Not just any games, Senator! A
series of games that will make the
Gods envious and leave my children
happy! I will subsidize the arena
from this day forth -- and I will
culminate this celebration in a
great spectacle the likes of which
the world has never seen! A great
spectacle to honor my father!
Magnificent, unending weeks of
festivity all in the name of Marcus
Aurelius!

A beat.

GRACCHUS
If I may, Caesar... how are you
going to pay for this?

COMMODUS
That is not your concern.

Gracchus ignores a warning look from Gaius.

GRACCHUS
Respectfully, sire, taxation and
import duties are the exclusive
province of the Senate --

Commodus spins on him so quickly and with such feral violence
that everyone is shocked --

COMMODUS
MY FATHER DESERVES TO BE HONORED
AND I WILL HONOR HIM! -- AND THE
PEOPLE WILL LOVE ME! -- AND THE
SENATE WILL OBEY ME OR EVERY ONE OF
YOU WILL BURN! BURN! BURN! -- I
WILL HAVE ORDER!

He snarls like a great jungle cat and he stalks away. Senator
Falco quickly follows.

A dreadful silence.

Then:

LUCILLA
Gentlemen, in the future do not
concern my brother with these
matters. Come to me.
53.

She sweeps out.

A beat.

MARCELLUS
Games? He wants to hold games?

GAIUS
It's madness.

GRACCHUS
No... it's not...

A beat.

GRACCHUS (cont’d)
He knows who Rome is. Rome is the
mob. He will conjure magic for
them and they will be distracted.
And he will takes their lives. And
he will take their freedom. And
still they will roar. The beating
heart of Rome isn't the marble of
the Senate. It's the sand of the
Colosseum. He will give them
death. And they will love him for
it.
Genres: ["Historical Drama","Political Drama"]

Summary In Rome's palace throne room, Senators Gracchus, Gaius, and Marcellus raise concerns with Emperor Commodus. Commodus dismisses them, announcing extravagant games to appease the people. Despite opposition, Commodus asserts his power and pushes away symbols of his father's legacy. The scene ends with Commodus threatening the Senators, leaving a sense of unease.
Strengths
  • Strong character dynamics
  • Tense atmosphere
  • Relevant themes
Weaknesses
  • Some dialogue may be overly dramatic
  • Lack of focus on certain characters

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively sets up the power dynamics and conflicts within the story, creating tension and intrigue.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of using games and entertainment to control the masses while ignoring the city's issues is a compelling and relevant theme.

Plot: 8

The plot advances as Commodus reveals his plans for the Colosseum and the Senate's attempts to influence him, setting up future conflicts.

Originality: 9

The scene offers a fresh perspective on ancient Rome by focusing on the political and moral dilemmas faced by the characters. The authenticity of the dialogue and actions adds to the originality.


Character Development

Characters: 7

The characters, especially Commodus and the Senators, show depth and conflicting motivations, adding layers to the scene.

Character Changes: 7

Commodus's character is further revealed, showing his ruthless and manipulative nature.

Internal Goal: 8

Senator Gracchus' internal goal is to address the corruption and decay in Rome, reflecting his desire for order and justice in the city.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal is to convince Emperor Commodus to address the city's issues and implement the Senate's protocols.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict between Commodus and the Senate, as well as the looming tension in Rome, creates a high level of conflict.

Opposition: 9

The opposition in the scene is strong, with conflicting ideologies and power dynamics creating a sense of uncertainty and conflict.

High Stakes: 8

The stakes are high as Commodus consolidates power and the Senate tries to influence him, setting the stage for potential betrayals and conflicts.

Story Forward: 9

The scene significantly moves the story forward by establishing key conflicts and character motivations.

Unpredictability: 8

The scene is unpredictable in its character interactions and escalating tensions, keeping the audience on edge about the outcome.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

The philosophical conflict is evident between Gracchus' belief in law and order and Commodus' belief in providing entertainment and distraction to the people. This challenges Gracchus' values of governance and responsibility.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 7

The scene evokes a range of emotions, from tension to defiance, adding depth to the narrative.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue is sharp and reveals the characters' personalities and intentions effectively.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging due to its intense dialogue, power dynamics, and thematic conflicts that keep the audience invested in the characters' fates.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene effectively builds tension and suspense through the characters' dialogue and actions, leading to a climactic confrontation.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The formatting adheres to the standard screenplay format, effectively conveying the setting, characters, and dialogue.

Structure: 8

The scene follows the expected structure for a historical drama, with clear character introductions, conflict development, and resolution.


Critique
  • The scene introduces multiple characters and settings, which can be overwhelming for the audience to keep track of.
  • The dialogue between the characters feels a bit expository and lacks subtlety, making it less engaging for the audience.
  • Commodus' sudden outburst of violence towards Gracchus feels somewhat forced and could be developed more organically.
  • The transition between the scenes from the wagon to the palace could be smoother to maintain the flow of the story.
  • The tension and conflict in the scene could be heightened by building up the power dynamics between the characters more effectively.
Suggestions
  • Consider simplifying the introduction of characters and settings to avoid overwhelming the audience.
  • Work on making the dialogue more natural and engaging by adding subtext and depth to the interactions.
  • Develop Commodus' character arc more gradually to make his outburst more believable and impactful.
  • Smooth out the transitions between scenes to maintain the narrative flow.
  • Focus on building up the tension and conflict by establishing clear power dynamics between the characters.



Scene 18 -  Maximus' Heroic Triumph
INT. PROVINCIAL ARENA - DUGOUT - TUNNELS - DAY

Maximus is marching relentlessly through the dugout and
cramped, serpentine trench-like tunnels that lead to the
arena.

We don't really see Maximus well in the dark tunnels.

Proximo scurries to keep up with him -- they brush past
gladiators who line the walls. Some are wounded, some are
being attended to by surgeons, some are shell-shocked, some
are nervously waiting to go on, whispering prayers.

We twist and turn in the tunnels with Proximo and Maximus as:

PROXIMO
(quickly)
I've wagered on you against the
Celts -- ignore the others and go
for them -- there are two axe-and-
net and two long spear. Now the
Celts aren't used to the sun so you
have the advantage there...
54.

The roar of the crowd is growing, they are nearing the
arena...

PROXIMO (cont’d)
And keep them moving, their lungs
aren't strong, ground the spears as
soon as you can and then go for the
ax-men. If you get all four
there's an extra bonus so don't be
distracted by the Spartans...

Without a word to Proximo, or a moment's hesitation, Maximus
strides into the arena.


EXT. PROVINCIAL ARENA - DAY

We continue with Maximus as he strides into the roaring
arena.

We finally see him in the blazing sunlight -- he wears
traditional gladiator armor and now has longer hair and a
beard --

A battle is already in progress, fighting and dead and dying
gladiators crowd the arena --

We stay with Maximus as he wades through his opponents,
fighting them heroically, slashing through them without
stopping --

The large crowd cheers mightily -- chants of "Spaniard!
Spaniard! Spaniard!"

We stay with Maximus as he cuts through the four Celts like a
scythe through wheat and then we dramatically pull up and
away --

Taking in the roaring arena and the hero.


EXT. PROXIMO'S SCHOOL - COMPOUND - NIGHT

A large mess area has been set up. The tables around the
compound are crowded with gladiators. Guards everywhere.

Maximus and Juba enter. Move to get food. All conversation
gradually drains away as the other gladiators watch them.
Silence.

Maximus and Juba note the strange silence as they move to a
large table. Vibius is at the table with a number of other
gladiators. There are no places for Maximus and Juba.
55.

Vibius stands and kicks two other gladiators off their bench.

VIBIUS
MOVE ASIDE! THIS IS A TABLE FOR
MEN!

Maximus and Juba sit.

Vibius remains standing. He begins to pound on the table
with his fist. Soon all the gladiators are pounding on their
tables. It is a cacophonous din honoring Maximus.
Genres: ["Action","Drama"]

Summary Maximus navigates the dark tunnels to the arena, focused and determined. Inside, he faces numerous opponents, defeating them with relentless skill. The crowd roars with excitement as he emerges victorious. Back at the mess area, initially met with silence, Maximus is honored by Vibius and the other gladiators with a thunderous ovation.
Strengths
  • Intense action sequences
  • Emotional depth
  • Character dynamics
Weaknesses
  • Some cliched elements in the gladiator setting

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene is highly engaging, with a mix of intense action, emotional depth, and character dynamics that keep the audience invested.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of gladiators fighting in the arena, the struggle for survival, and the dynamics between the characters are well-executed and compelling.

Plot: 9

The plot advances significantly with Maximus's impressive performance in the arena, setting up future conflicts and character development.

Originality: 9

The scene offers a fresh and authentic portrayal of gladiatorial combat, with unique character dynamics, intense action sequences, and sharp dialogue that set it apart from traditional depictions of ancient Rome. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds depth and complexity to the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 8

The characters, especially Maximus, Juba, and Proximo, are well-developed and their interactions add depth to the scene.

Character Changes: 7

Maximus's performance in the arena showcases his growth and determination, setting the stage for further character development.

Internal Goal: 9

Maximus's internal goal in this scene is to prove his worth as a gladiator and assert his dominance in the arena. This reflects his desire for recognition, respect, and survival in the brutal world of gladiatorial combat.

External Goal: 8

Maximus's external goal is to defeat the Celts in the upcoming battle and secure victory for himself and his team. This goal reflects the immediate challenge he faces in the arena and the pressure to perform well in front of the crowd.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

There is a high level of conflict present in the scene, both in the physical battles in the arena and the internal struggles of the characters.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with Maximus facing off against the Celts in a high-stakes battle that tests his skills and determination. The audience is kept on edge, unsure of the outcome and rooting for Maximus to succeed.

High Stakes: 9

The high stakes of life and death in the gladiatorial arena add tension and urgency to the scene.

Story Forward: 9

The scene significantly moves the story forward by introducing key conflicts, character dynamics, and setting up future events.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable because of the unexpected twists and turns in the gladiatorial battle, the shifting dynamics between the characters, and the high stakes of the conflict. The audience is kept on edge, unsure of how the scene will unfold.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

The philosophical conflict in this scene revolves around the value of strength, honor, and survival in a brutal and competitive environment. Maximus's actions and decisions challenge the beliefs and values of those around him, particularly Vibius, who represents a more aggressive and confrontational approach to combat.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes a range of emotions from hope to despair, making it emotionally impactful for the audience.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue is impactful and serves to enhance the character dynamics and the overall tone of the scene.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its intense action, dramatic tension, and high stakes. The fast-paced narrative, sharp dialogue, and vivid descriptions draw the audience into the brutal world of gladiatorial combat, creating a sense of excitement and anticipation.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by maintaining a fast and dynamic rhythm that keeps the audience engaged and invested in the action. The scene builds tension and excitement, leading to a dramatic climax in the arena.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The scene follows the expected formatting for its genre, with clear scene headings, action lines, and dialogue that enhance the visual and emotional impact of the story. The formatting helps to convey the intensity and urgency of the gladiatorial setting.

Structure: 8

The scene follows the expected structure for its genre, with a clear setup, conflict, and resolution that drive the narrative forward and build tension effectively. The pacing and rhythm of the scene contribute to its effectiveness and engage the audience in the action.


Critique
  • The scene effectively builds tension and anticipation as Maximus marches through the dark tunnels towards the arena, creating a sense of foreboding and impending battle.
  • The dialogue between Proximo and Maximus provides important information about the upcoming fight against the Celts, setting the stage for the action to come.
  • The visual descriptions of the crowded and chaotic arena, along with Maximus' heroic actions, create a vivid and engaging picture for the audience.
  • The transition from the dark tunnels to the blazing sunlight of the arena is well executed, highlighting Maximus' transformation into a gladiator ready for battle.
  • The silence and then the cacophonous din in the mess area effectively convey the respect and admiration the other gladiators have for Maximus.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more internal thoughts or emotions for Maximus as he marches through the tunnels to provide insight into his mindset before the battle.
  • Enhance the interaction between Maximus and Juba in the mess area to further develop their relationship and dynamics within the group of gladiators.
  • Explore the reactions of the crowd in the arena to Maximus' entrance and fighting style to add depth to the scene and showcase the impact of his actions.
  • Include more sensory details to immerse the audience in the sights, sounds, and atmosphere of the arena, enhancing the overall cinematic experience.
  • Consider incorporating a moment of reflection or introspection for Maximus after the battle to add depth to his character and provide a glimpse into his inner struggles.



Scene 19 -  Maximus and Proximo's Deal
INT. PROXIMO'S SCHOOL - PROXIMO'S CHAMBER - NIGHT

Proximo sits on a terrace overlooking his compound, sipping
wine. Various gladiators can be seen working out below.

A guard brings Maximus. Proximo nods for the guard to leave.

PROXIMO
(holding up a plate)
Butterfly?

The plate is filled with honeyed butterflies, their wings
still moving slightly.

Maximus shakes his head. Proximo pops one into his mouth. He
chews as he looks at Maximus.

PROXIMO (cont’d)
Perhaps you'd like a woman?

Maximus shakes his head.

PROXIMO (cont’d)
Boy?

Maximus shakes his head.

A beat.

PROXIMO (cont’d)
Gold?

Maximus shakes his head.

PROXIMO (cont’d)
Well, I have nothing left to offer
you! A man who turns down a
butterfly, a woman, a boy and gold
confuses me.
(MORE)
56.
PROXIMO(cont'd)
Personally, I'd grab them all and
then grab some more because the
Gods are fanciful and take us at
their whim. Does the Spaniard have
any needs?

Maximus shakes his head.

A beat. Proximo studies him.

PROXIMO (cont’d)
You fight like a soldier. You have
wounds like a soldier who has been
on long campaigns. You eye the
world around you like an enemy.
What is your name, Roman soldier?

MAXIMUS
Gladiator.

A beat.

PROXIMO
And nothing more?

MAXIMUS
Nothing more.

A beat.

Proximo watches Maximus very closely for the following:

PROXIMO
In two days we leave for Rome.

Maximus' eyes suddenly flash to Proximo. He is transfixed,
his eyes burning.

PROXIMO (cont’d)
Ah... so it's Rome you want. Well
you shall have her, Gladiator. The
new Emperor has ordered a series of
matches to culminate in a grand
spectacle. If you do well I shall
become very, very rich. If you do
well enough I shall set you free.
Is it freedom you want?

A beat.

Maximus shakes his head.
57.

PROXIMO (cont’d)
(quietly)
Not even that.

MAXIMUS
(barely controlled)
The Emperor -- will he be there?

PROXIMO
Oh yes. He's apparently quite mad
about the games. Spending a
fortune, which is, needless to say,
good for me again. But what is
good for you, Gladiator?

MAXIMUS
Have you -- how does one meet the
Emperor?

PROXIMO
As a gladiator?

MAXIMUS
Yes.

PROXIMO
One doesn't.

A beat. Proximo sees that Maximus' mind is racing.

PROXIMO (cont’d)
Except... If one has proven oneself
in battle. If at the end of the
games you are the final man
standing -- the Emperor will
present you with a small wooden
sword. The sword is your freedom.

MAXIMUS
He gives it personally?

PROXIMO
He did to me...
(Maximus is surprised at
this)
Our great father Marcus Aurelius
looked into my eyes and touched me
on the shoulder.

MAXIMUS
You knew Marcus?
58.

PROXIMO
I didn't know him. He touched me
on the shoulder. Just once. But
that was enough.

A beat.

PROXIMO (cont’d)
All right, Gladiator. We shall go
to Rome together and have bloody
adventures. The Great Whore will
suckle us until we are fat and
happy and can't suck another drop.
That is Rome.
Genres: ["Drama","Action","Historical"]

Summary Proximo offers Maximus luxuries, but he declines. Proximo then offers Maximus freedom if he wins gladiatorial games in Rome where the Emperor will present him with a wooden sword, symbolizing his freedom. Maximus is surprised to learn that Proximo knew Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
Strengths
  • Strong character dynamics
  • Tension-filled dialogue
  • High stakes
Weaknesses
  • Limited character development for secondary characters
  • Some predictable plot elements

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively sets up the tension and conflict for Maximus as he faces the choice of participating in the games for a chance at freedom.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of freedom and the allure of Rome are central to this scene, driving Maximus's internal struggle.

Plot: 7

The plot advances as Maximus is presented with the opportunity to fight in the upcoming games, setting the stage for future events.

Originality: 9

The scene offers a fresh take on the gladiatorial genre by focusing on the internal struggles and philosophical conflicts of the characters. The authenticity of the dialogue and character motivations adds depth and complexity to the familiar setting.


Character Development

Characters: 8

Maximus and Proximo are well-developed in this scene, with Maximus displaying his unwavering determination and Proximo showcasing his shrewdness.

Character Changes: 7

Maximus's resolve and determination are tested in this scene, setting the stage for potential growth and transformation.

Internal Goal: 8

Maximus's internal goal in this scene is to maintain his stoic and disciplined demeanor despite the temptations and offers presented to him by Proximo. This reflects his deeper need for honor, integrity, and loyalty to his deceased family and Emperor.

External Goal: 7

Maximus's external goal is to navigate the world of gladiatorial combat and potentially earn his freedom by winning battles and impressing the Emperor. This goal reflects the immediate circumstances and challenges he faces as a slave forced into combat.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

The conflict between Maximus's desire for freedom and his reluctance to participate in the games creates tension and suspense.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with Proximo presenting Maximus with tempting offers and challenging his values. Maximus's stoic refusal and internal conflict create a compelling dynamic that keeps the audience engaged.

High Stakes: 9

The stakes are high as Maximus must decide whether to risk his life in the games for a chance at freedom.

Story Forward: 8

The scene propels the story forward by introducing the upcoming gladiatorial games and the challenges Maximus will face.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the shifting power dynamics between Proximo and Maximus, as well as the unexpected revelations about the Emperor and the potential for freedom. The audience is kept on edge, unsure of how the characters will navigate their circumstances.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

The philosophical conflict in this scene is between Proximo's cynical view of Rome as a place of indulgence and Maximus's stoic and honorable approach to his circumstances. Proximo sees Rome as a place of excess and manipulation, while Maximus values freedom and integrity.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 7

The scene evokes a sense of hopelessness and defiance, drawing the audience into Maximus's internal struggle.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue effectively conveys the power dynamics between Maximus and Proximo, as well as Maximus's inner turmoil.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of the dynamic between Proximo and Maximus, the tension in their interactions, and the high stakes of the gladiatorial world. The dialogue and character motivations keep the audience invested in the unfolding drama.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene is effective in building tension and revealing character motivations. The rhythm of the dialogue and the pauses between exchanges enhance the dramatic impact of the interactions between Proximo and Maximus.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The formatting of the scene adheres to the standard screenplay format for its genre, with clear scene descriptions and character actions. The dialogue is well-paced and engaging, enhancing the overall impact of the scene.

Structure: 8

The scene follows the expected structure for a dialogue-driven character interaction in a historical drama. The pacing and rhythm of the scene contribute to its effectiveness in building tension and revealing character dynamics.


Critique
  • The scene effectively establishes the dynamic between Proximo and Maximus, showcasing Proximo's attempts to entice Maximus with various offerings and Maximus's stoic refusal of each one.
  • There is a sense of tension and mystery as Proximo tries to understand Maximus's motivations and desires, leading to a compelling exchange between the two characters.
  • The dialogue is engaging and reveals important information about the upcoming events in Rome, as well as Maximus's stoic and determined nature.
  • The scene effectively sets up the stakes for Maximus in the upcoming matches and his potential path to freedom through proving himself in battle.
  • Proximo's reminiscence about Marcus Aurelius adds depth to his character and hints at a connection to the Emperor that may play a role in the future.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more visual elements to enhance the setting and atmosphere of Proximo's chamber, such as describing the lighting, decorations, or sounds in the room.
  • Explore deeper into Maximus's internal conflict and motivations for refusing the offerings presented by Proximo, adding layers to his character and building intrigue.
  • Introduce subtle hints or foreshadowing about Maximus's potential path to meeting the Emperor in the upcoming matches, creating anticipation and curiosity for the audience.
  • Enhance the emotional impact of Proximo's reminiscence about Marcus Aurelius by delving into the significance of that moment for Proximo and how it shapes his perspective on the upcoming events.
  • Consider incorporating more physical actions or gestures to convey the tension and dynamics between Proximo and Maximus, adding a layer of visual storytelling to the scene.



Scene 20 -  Confidences and Treachery
INT./ EXT. SLAVE WAGON - OUTSIDE ROME - EVENING

Maximus is crouched in the back of an enclosed slave wagon
with Vibius, Juba and a few other gladiators.

In the distance, Rome.


INT. PALACE - COMMODUS' BEDROOM - NIGHT

Commodus sits on his bed, rubbing his aching head. Lucilla is
preparing a drink for him, a medicinal tonic.

COMMODUS
All my desires are splitting my
head to pieces -- there's so much I
want to do -- but all my efforts to
show my children they are loved go
unappreciated by those dragons in
the Senate --

LUCILLA
(mixing tonic)
Quiet, brother...

Unseen by him, she adds a little special powder to the drink
from a vial secreted in her robe.

LUCILLA (cont’d)
Leave the Senate to me. Don't
trouble yourself.

COMMODUS
All I want is to be a good father
to my people. Why don't they
understand that?
59.

She goes to him.

LUCILLA
Shhh. The tonic will help...

She takes a sip and then hands it to him.

LUCILLA (cont’d)
Yes, just drink this down.

She sits on the edge of the bed. He drinks as:

COMMODUS
I must take a firmer hand with
them. They must know their father
can be firm. As our father was
firm with us.

LUCILLA
Our father lost his way. His
mistake was believing the old songs
of the "Republic." We know better.
So let the Senate talk. They have
no real power.

COMMODUS
Yes... yes... you always know the
way. You were always so wise in
these matters...
(he takes her hand)
You know if I didn't have my duty
to Rome I think I should be an
artist. I should go away and paint
pictures of the sea and leave all
the politics to you...

A beat. He is sleepy, he lies back on his bed.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
Will you stay with me?

LUCILLA
(smiles gently)
Still afraid of the dark, brother?

COMMODUS
Still. Always.

A beat.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
My dreams would terrify the world.
A beat.
60.

LUCILLA
I'll stay with you until you are
asleep.

COMMODUS
(falling asleep)
And after... just sit with me.
Keep me safe...

He is asleep.

She watches him for a moment and then rises.

She goes.
Genres: ["Historical Drama","Political Drama"]

Summary Maximus, Juba, and Vibius are transported as slaves outside Rome while Commodus struggles with his rule, fearing the Senate and confiding in Lucilla. Lucilla poisons Commodus' drink and watches over him, leaving the scene with an ominous undertone.
Strengths
  • Rich character development
  • Emotional depth
  • Intriguing power dynamics
Weaknesses
  • Some dialogue could be more concise
  • Lack of external action

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively conveys the emotional depth and tension between the characters, setting up important plot points and character dynamics.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of familial relationships, power struggles, and political intrigue is well-developed and adds depth to the overall narrative.

Plot: 8

The plot advances significantly with the revelation of Commodus' inner turmoil and Lucilla's strategic maneuvers within the political landscape.

Originality: 9

The scene offers a fresh take on political intrigue and familial drama in ancient Rome. The characters' actions and dialogue feel authentic and engaging.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are richly developed, with complex motivations and relationships that drive the scene forward.

Character Changes: 8

Both Commodus and Lucilla undergo subtle shifts in their relationship dynamics and personal motivations.

Internal Goal: 8

Maximus's internal goal is to survive and potentially seek revenge against Commodus for his betrayal. This reflects his deeper desire for justice and redemption.

External Goal: 7

Commodus's external goal is to maintain power and control over Rome, as well as to be seen as a good father and leader. This reflects the immediate circumstances of political intrigue and familial dynamics.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 7

There is a subtle but palpable conflict between Commodus and Lucilla, as well as internal conflicts within Commodus himself.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with conflicting goals and power dynamics creating uncertainty and tension.

High Stakes: 7

The stakes are high in terms of political power and personal relationships, setting the stage for potential betrayals and alliances.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by revealing key information about the characters and setting up future conflicts and resolutions.

Unpredictability: 7

The scene is unpredictable due to the subtle manipulation and power shifts between the characters.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

The philosophical conflict revolves around power, duty, and familial loyalty. Commodus's belief in absolute power clashes with Lucilla's more strategic and manipulative approach to politics.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The emotional impact of the scene is high, with themes of regret, longing, and manipulation coming to the forefront.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue is engaging and reveals the characters' inner thoughts and conflicts effectively.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging due to its intense emotional conflict, power dynamics, and suspenseful dialogue.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by building tension and suspense gradually, leading to a climactic moment.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The formatting of the scene is clear and easy to follow, adhering to industry standards for screenplay format.

Structure: 8

The scene follows the expected structure for its genre, with clear transitions between locations and well-paced dialogue.


Critique
  • The scene lacks a clear sense of urgency or tension, considering the high stakes involved with Lucilla poisoning Commodus. The dialogue between Commodus and Lucilla feels somewhat generic and could benefit from more depth and complexity to reflect their complicated relationship.
  • The interaction between Commodus and Lucilla could be more dynamic and engaging, with stronger emotional beats to convey their conflicting desires and motivations. The scene could explore their power struggle and the underlying tension between them in a more nuanced way.
  • The pacing of the scene feels a bit slow, especially given the dramatic elements at play. There is an opportunity to heighten the suspense and intrigue by tightening the dialogue and focusing on the characters' internal conflicts and external threats.
  • The scene could benefit from more visual cues or actions to enhance the storytelling, such as close-ups on the characters' expressions, subtle gestures, or symbolic imagery to convey their inner turmoil and hidden agendas.
  • Overall, the scene has potential but needs to be elevated in terms of character development, dialogue depth, pacing, and visual storytelling to fully capture the complexity of the relationships and the high-stakes situation.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more layers to the dialogue between Commodus and Lucilla to reveal their true intentions and emotional struggles. Show more subtext and hidden agendas in their interactions.
  • Introduce more visual elements or actions to enhance the scene's impact, such as close-ups on key moments, symbolic imagery, or subtle gestures to convey the characters' emotions and motivations.
  • Focus on tightening the pacing of the scene to maintain tension and keep the audience engaged. Cut down on unnecessary dialogue and build suspense through strategic pauses and dramatic reveals.
  • Explore the power dynamics between Commodus and Lucilla in a more nuanced way, highlighting their conflicting desires and the underlying tension in their relationship. Show the audience the complexity of their interactions.
  • Consider adding a sense of urgency and high stakes to the scene by emphasizing the consequences of Lucilla's actions and the potential fallout. Heighten the drama to create a more compelling and impactful moment.



Scene 21 -  Conspiracy in Lucilla's Chambers
INT. PALACE - HALLWAY - NIGHT

Lucilla moves down a long corridor in the palace and blows
out candles as she goes.

She finally arrives at her own chamber and enters...


INT. PALACE - LUCILLA'S CHAMBERS - NIGHT

Senators Gracchus and Gaius and Captain Marcellus are
waiting.

LUCILLA
He's asleep. Be quick.

GRACCHUS
We've taking a sounding, the Senate
is with us.

LUCILLA
Good.

GRACCHUS
But we are only words. We are air.
We need steel.

MARCELLUS
The City Guard is faithful to the
Republic. But we don't stand a
chance against the Praetorians.

LUCILLA
Can they be bought?
61.

MARCELLUS
They are zealots -- totally
committed to your brother.

GRACCHUS
Well, can they at least be rented
for a day?

MARCELLUS
I doubt it. He pays them
exorbitant salaries and lets them
loot and extort as they see fit.
The city belongs to them.

LUCILLA
And they've started arresting
scholars now. Anyone who dares
speak out -- even satirists and
chroniclers.

MARCELLUS
And mathematicians and Christians.
All to fill the arena.

GAIUS
And what pays for it? These games
are costing a fortune and yet we
have no new taxes.

LUCILLA
The future. The future pays for
it...

A beat. She looks at them.

LUCILLA (cont’d)
He's started selling the grain
reserves.

GAIUS
No.

MARCELLUS
That can't be true...

LUCILLA
He's selling Rome's reserves of
grain. The people will be starving
in two years. I hope they are
enjoying the spectacles because
soon enough they will be dead
because of them.
62.

MARCELLUS
Rome must know this.

LUCILLA
And who will tell them?! You,
Marcellus? You, Senator Gaius?
Will you make a speech on the
Senate floor denouncing my brother?
And then see your family in the
Colosseum? What town-crier would
dare?

A long beat.

LUCILLA (cont’d)
He must die.

A beat as her words sink in.

GAIUS
The Praetorians would only seize
control themselves.

LUCILLA
No -- cut off the head and the
snake cannot strike.

GRACCHUS
Lucilla, Gaius is right. Until the
City Guard can neutralize the
Praetorians we can accomplish
nothing.

MARCELLUS
And I haven't enough men.

LUCILLA
What about the army?

GAIUS
No Roman army has entered the
capital in a hundred years.

LUCILLA
So we do nothing?!

A door opens, a voice...

LUCIUS' VOICE
Mother...

An eight-year-old boy stands in a doorway, sleepy. He is
LUCIUS, Lucilla's son.
63.

LUCIUS
I heard voices...

LUCILLA
(going to him)
It's all right, darling, you --

Lucius suddenly notices Senator Gracchus:

LUCIUS
(running to Gracchus)
Senator! What did you bring me?!

He leaps onto Gracchus -- Gracchus laughs and pulls something
from his robe.

GRACCHUS
For you prince Lucius... a sea
monster!

Gracchus gives Lucius a beautifully painted toy of a sea
serpent.

GRACCHUS (cont’d)
Off the coast of Achaea they grow
twenty times this size, with
snapping teeth to devour any nasty
Praetorians they come across...
now, where is Achaea?

LUCIUS
Below Macedonia!

GRACCHUS
Show me on the map.

Lucius runs to a map and stabs his finger at Achaea. We
sense this is an old game between them.

LUCILLA
Lucius, you go in now, I'll be in
shortly.

LUCIUS
(to Gracchus)
Thank you, Senator Mountain!

GRACCHUS
You're welcome, Prince Anthill!

Lucius goes. Lucilla shuts the door after him. A moment.
She turns to the others, a deep anguish in her eyes.
64.

LUCILLA
What are you going to do?

Gracchus goes to her, holds her.

GRACCHUS
Peace child... One dark night the
Gods will light our path. They
will give us the voice we need.
Have faith in that. Have faith.
Genres: ["Drama","Political","Historical"]

Summary Lucilla and her allies plot to overthrow Commodus but face challenges. Lucilla reveals Commodus's grain sales, prompting fears of starvation. Despite their hesitation due to the Praetorian Guard, Gracchus reassures Lucilla to trust the gods for guidance.
Strengths
  • Tense atmosphere
  • Compelling dialogue
  • Strong character motivations
Weaknesses
  • Lack of action

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene is engaging, filled with tension, and sets up a high-stakes conflict that keeps the audience on edge.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of a group of individuals plotting to overthrow a tyrant is a classic and compelling storyline that adds depth to the overall plot.

Plot: 8

The plot thickens as the characters discuss their plan to take down Commodus, adding layers of intrigue and suspense to the narrative.

Originality: 8

The scene presents a fresh approach to the theme of political intrigue and moral dilemmas, with a focus on personal relationships and sacrifices. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds to the originality of the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 7

The characters are well-developed and their motivations are clear, driving the plot forward with their actions and decisions.

Character Changes: 7

The characters are driven to make difficult decisions and take risks, showing growth and development in the face of adversity.

Internal Goal: 9

Lucilla's internal goal is to protect her son and the people of Rome from the tyrannical rule of her brother. This reflects her deeper desire for justice, freedom, and the well-being of her loved ones.

External Goal: 8

The protagonist's external goal is to overthrow her brother's oppressive regime and save Rome from starvation and chaos. This reflects the immediate circumstances and challenges they are facing in the scene.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict between the characters' desire to save Rome and the obstacles they face, including the Praetorians and the Emperor, creates a high level of tension.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with the characters facing internal and external challenges that test their beliefs and loyalties. The uncertainty of the outcome adds to the tension and suspense.

High Stakes: 9

The stakes are high as the characters risk their lives to save Rome from ruin, facing formidable obstacles and uncertain outcomes.

Story Forward: 9

The scene propels the story forward by introducing a crucial plot point and setting up future conflicts and resolutions.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the characters' conflicting goals, moral dilemmas, and uncertain outcomes. The audience is kept on edge, unsure of how the characters will navigate the challenges they face.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

The philosophical conflict in this scene revolves around the moral dilemma of whether to take drastic action to stop a tyrant, even if it means resorting to violence and risking further chaos. This challenges the characters' beliefs in justice, loyalty, and the greater good.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 8

The scene evokes a range of emotions from anxiety to hope, drawing the audience into the characters' plight.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is sharp, filled with tension and urgency, effectively conveying the characters' emotions and motivations.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its intense dialogue, moral dilemmas, and high stakes. The emotional depth and character dynamics draw the audience in, creating a sense of urgency and suspense.

Pacing: 9

The pacing of the scene is effective in building tension and emotional depth, with a balance of dialogue, action, and character interactions. The rhythm enhances the scene's impact and keeps the audience engaged.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The scene follows the expected formatting for its genre, with clear scene headings, dialogue formatting, and action descriptions. This enhances the readability and flow of the scene.

Structure: 9

The scene follows the expected structure for its genre, with a clear setup, conflict, and resolution. The pacing and rhythm contribute to its effectiveness in building tension and emotional depth.


Critique
  • The scene effectively sets up the dire situation in Rome under Commodus' rule through the dialogue and interactions between Lucilla, Senators Gracchus and Gaius, and Captain Marcellus.
  • The tension and urgency of the situation are well conveyed, with the characters discussing the need for action against Commodus' destructive policies.
  • The dialogue is impactful and reveals the depth of the crisis facing Rome, with Lucilla's revelation about the grain reserves being sold adding a sense of impending doom.
  • The scene effectively showcases the power dynamics and challenges faced by those who wish to oppose Commodus, highlighting the difficulty of taking action against a tyrant.
  • The introduction of Lucius adds a personal touch to the scene, showing the human cost of the political turmoil and adding emotional depth to Lucilla's motivations.
  • Overall, the scene effectively sets the stage for the conflict to come and establishes the stakes for the characters involved.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more visual elements or actions to break up the dialogue-heavy nature of the scene and enhance the visual storytelling.
  • Explore opportunities to show the impact of Commodus' actions on the people of Rome through brief glimpses or mentions of the suffering caused by the grain shortages.
  • Consider adding moments of internal conflict or doubt for the characters to deepen their characterization and add complexity to their motivations.
  • Look for opportunities to build tension and suspense through pacing and structure, leading to a more dramatic payoff in future scenes.
  • Consider incorporating subtle foreshadowing or hints of future events to create intrigue and anticipation for the audience.



Scene 22 -  Arrival in Rome
INT./ EXT. ROMAN STREETS - SLAVE WAGON - NIGHT

Maximus cranes for a sight of the Eternal City through a hole
in the wooden slats that cover the slave cart.

He can see only glimpses of Rome as they pass. But the
images are not what he expected. Alongside the undeniable
glory of the city, the madness and disease Marcus Aurelius
spoke of are readily apparent.

Maximus sees flashes of plague victims being tossed on carts
heaped with bodies -- he sees getting and spending and
commerce everywhere -- he sees fascist Praetorian Guard units
trooping past -- he sees the magnificent architecture of the
city -- he sees starving children begging from filthy gutters
-- he sees rich citizens out for a stroll -- he sees a
swirling combination of sophistication and depravity, of
civilization and corruption.

He sits back in the cart, deep in thought. Vibius looks at
him.

VIBIUS
Not what you expected?

MAXIMUS
No.

VIBIUS
Rome is nothing but a slaughter
house. And we are the meat.


EXT. PROXIMO'S COMPOUND - NIGHT

The slave wagon pulls up to Proximo's rather grand Roman
compound. Guards unlock imposing gates and the wagon drives
in...
65.


EXT. PROXIMO'S COMPOUND - COURTYARD - NIGHT

Inside the gates is a large courtyard, much like Proximo's
Moroccan school but much more impressive. A fountain with an
enormous statue of the war god Mars is central in the
courtyard.

The gladiators climb from the wagon, stretching after the
long journey. Vibius leads Maximus and Juba to the statue.
He wades through the fountain and kisses the toe of Mars.

VIBIUS
Tradition. He watches over us.

Juba steps up and kisses the toe.

VIBIUS (cont’d)
(to Maximus)
Oh go on, it won't kill you.

Maximus kisses the toe as well.

PROXIMO
(calling to them)
Stop that! You'll get some
monstrous disease and then you'll
be worth nothing to me!

Guards come and lead them to their cells, which line one side
of the courtyard.


INT. PROXIMO'S COMPOUND - CELL - NIGHT

Later. Maximus and Juba again share a cell. It is more
comfortable than their cell in Morocco, befitting Maximus'
new status as one of the "stars." A high, barred window on
one wall opens to the city. Another barred window is
directly over them, twenty feet above.

Maximus pulls himself up to the side window, he looks out.

And sees at last... The Colosseum.

It is a breathtaking sight. Monolithic Albert Speer-like
columns of light shine up from the Colosseum. It seems to
illuminate the whole city and the heavens above.

Maximus drops back to the floor.
66.

JUBA
Do you think it will be much
different? Here in Rome?

MAXIMUS
Bigger arena. Same killing.

A beat.

JUBA
Are you scared for tomorrow?

MAXIMUS
No.

A beat.

JUBA
Me too.

A beat.

JUBA (cont’d)
I never though it would be so easy
to kill.

A beat.

JUBA (cont’d)
So you're finally home.

MAXIMUS
This isn't my home.

JUBA
For all Romans... this is home.

A beat.

JUBA (cont’d)
(quietly)
Among my people we honor the soil
of our home. Our ancestors are in
that soil. All their dreams live
there. I will never see my home
again. The soil is dead and no one
honors them, so the dreams die.

A beat.

MAXIMUS
Perhaps one day you'll return.
67.

Juba looks at him.

JUBA
How can I go back? I am not what I
was. When a man kills for no
reason, he has lost himself.

A long beat.

Juba leans his head back and quietly begins to sing. A
haunting lament in his native tongue.


EXT. COLOSSEUM - DAY

A flurry of images from around the Colosseum, the energy
mounting. At this point we see practically nothing of the
inside of the Colosseum:

Slaves are balancing high above the empty arena. They are on
ropes unrolling huge rolls of muslin; sun tarps that provide
shade below...

Merchants open stalls in the curved arcade around outside of
the Colosseum. They sell everything from food to magic
elixirs, from toys to aphrodisiacs. They immediately start
declaiming and demonstrating the virtues of their products...

Gangs of whores of both sexes trawl the streets. They have
bizarrely-colored hair and elaborate makeup...

Citizens begin arriving, pushing past the vendors and the
pickpockets. We see whole families with picnic lunches...

Ferocious animals are brought into the Colosseum in barred
cages...

In the busy arcade, barbers and blood-letters practice their
craft alongside exotic alchemists, fire eaters and
contortionists...

Richer citizens arrive in sedan chairs and chariots, they
feign indifference to the hooting mob...

Mounted City Guard police units try to retain some order...

Gamblers crowd betting booths and haggle mercilessly...

Finally, we see Maximus and the other gladiators in a slave
cart. Maximus watches everything as the slave cart
disappears into the Colosseum...
68.


INT. COLOSSEUM - ROUTE TO HOLDING CELLS - DAY

The interior of the Colosseum is a busy world unto itself.

Maximus and the others are lead by Proximo's guards down a
long ramp and past countless animal cages. Gamblers
circulate everywhere and observe the warriors, angling for
the best odds and the best matches.

Maximus and the others are led even deeper into the bowels of
the Colosseum to a new whole subterranean realm. Numerous
cells line the walls. Racks and racks of weaponry and armor.

And, most striking, everywhere around them is the heavy
machinery of the spectacles above. Huge "elevator" platforms
and ramps and pulleys and counterweights are manned by teams
of sweating slaves.


INT. COLOSSEUM - HOLDING CELLS - DAY

Finally, Proximo's guards lead the gladiators to their
holding cells. These cells are right at the edge of the
arena. Barred windows offer a sand-level view of the action.

Maximus immediately goes to a window and looks out.

He cannot see much of the entire arena, but what he does see
transfixes him. A band of Christians are huddled together.
An eerie silence from the Colosseum but for the prayers of
the Christians.

Maximus watches them.

One little girl peels past her mother's arm. She sees
Maximus. She smiles.

Suddenly a dozen ferocious lions race up a ramp by Maximus --
they roar into the arena --

We do not see the carnage. We watch Maximus' face as we hear
the sounds of the slaughter.

And the sound of the roaring crowd.

Maximus finally cannot watch. He drops his head.
Genres: ["Historical Drama","Action","Adventure"]

Summary Maximus and fellow gladiators arrive in Rome and witness its grandeur and depravity. As they enter the Colosseum, Maximus sees Christian prisoners slaughtered by lions, leading him to despair.
Strengths
  • Rich character development
  • Emotional depth
  • Engaging dialogue
  • Compelling setting
Weaknesses
  • Some cliched elements in the portrayal of Rome
  • Predictable character arcs

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene is powerful, engaging, and sets the stage for significant developments in the story. The mix of tones, sentiments, and the introduction of new elements make it a standout moment.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of Maximus being thrust into the brutal world of gladiators in Rome is compelling and sets up a rich narrative. The scene effectively establishes the setting, tone, and challenges Maximus will face.

Plot: 9

The plot advances significantly as Maximus transitions from a respected general to a gladiator, facing new challenges and conflicts. The scene sets up key storylines and character arcs.

Originality: 9

The scene offers a fresh perspective on the gladiator world in ancient Rome, focusing on the internal conflicts and moral dilemmas faced by the characters. The authenticity of the dialogue and character interactions adds to the originality of the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters, especially Maximus and Juba, are well-developed and show depth through their interactions and reactions. Their emotional journeys are central to the scene.

Character Changes: 8

Maximus undergoes a significant transformation from a respected general to a desperate gladiator, grappling with loss and survival. His emotional journey drives the scene.

Internal Goal: 8

Maximus's internal goal in this scene is to come to terms with his new status as a gladiator in Rome and reconcile his past with his present circumstances.

External Goal: 7

Maximus's external goal in this scene is to survive and navigate the challenges of being a gladiator in Rome, including facing the upcoming battles in the Colosseum.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict is high as Maximus faces the harsh reality of his new life as a gladiator, the loss of his family, and the challenges of surviving in the brutal world of the Colosseum.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with Maximus facing internal and external challenges that test his beliefs and values.

High Stakes: 9

The stakes are high as Maximus faces the brutal world of the Colosseum, fights for survival, and seeks redemption. The consequences of failure are dire.

Story Forward: 9

The scene propels the story forward by introducing new challenges, conflicts, and settings. It sets up key events and character arcs that will unfold in the narrative.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable because of the unexpected interactions between characters and the moral dilemmas they face.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

The philosophical conflict evident in this scene is the contrast between honor, tradition, and the brutality of the gladiator games. Maximus grapples with the idea of killing for entertainment and the loss of self that comes with it.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions of despair, hopelessness, and determination. The tragic events and character struggles resonate with the audience.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is impactful and reveals the inner thoughts and struggles of the characters. It adds depth to the scene and enhances the emotional impact.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of the vivid descriptions of the setting, the introspective dialogue between characters, and the anticipation of the upcoming battles in the Colosseum.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene effectively builds tension and suspense, leading up to the climactic moments in the Colosseum.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The scene follows the expected formatting for its genre, with clear scene headings and descriptions of the setting and character actions.

Structure: 8

The scene follows the expected structure for its genre, effectively transitioning between different locations and building tension towards the upcoming battles in the Colosseum.


Critique
  • The scene effectively sets the stage for Maximus' arrival in Rome and the stark contrast between his expectations and the reality of the city. The imagery of the madness and disease in Rome is vividly portrayed, creating a sense of foreboding and unease. The inner conflict within Maximus is subtly hinted at through his interactions with Vibius and Juba, adding depth to his character. The introduction of Proximo's compound and the glimpse of the Colosseum further builds anticipation for the upcoming events.
  • The dialogue between Maximus, Vibius, and Juba is engaging and reveals important aspects of their characters. Maximus' stoic demeanor and Juba's introspective nature are effectively conveyed through their conversation. The scene successfully conveys the sense of disillusionment and resignation felt by Maximus as he observes the city of Rome.
  • The visual descriptions of Rome, the Colosseum, and the bustling activity within the arena provide a rich backdrop for the unfolding events. The contrast between the grandeur of the city and the brutality of the spectacles in the Colosseum is effectively highlighted, setting the stage for the upcoming gladiatorial battles.
  • The scene effectively transitions between different settings, from the slave wagon to Proximo's compound to the Colosseum, creating a sense of progression and anticipation. The use of visual cues, such as the barred windows overlooking the arena and the machinery of the spectacles, adds depth to the world-building and immerses the audience in the gladiatorial environment.
  • Overall, the scene effectively sets the tone for the upcoming events in Rome, establishes key character dynamics, and builds anticipation for Maximus' journey as a gladiator.
Suggestions
  • Consider delving deeper into Maximus' internal conflict and emotional turmoil as he grapples with the harsh realities of Rome and his new life as a gladiator. This can add layers to his character and enhance the audience's connection with him.
  • Explore the dynamics between Maximus, Vibius, and Juba further to showcase their evolving relationships and the impact of their shared experiences. This can add depth to the interactions and provide insight into their individual motivations.
  • Enhance the sensory descriptions of Rome, the Colosseum, and the bustling activity within the arena to create a more immersive and vivid setting. Utilize sights, sounds, and smells to transport the audience into the world of ancient Rome.
  • Consider incorporating moments of introspection and reflection for Maximus to convey his inner thoughts and struggles more explicitly. This can help the audience empathize with his journey and emotional arc throughout the screenplay.
  • Continue to build tension and anticipation for the upcoming gladiatorial battles by foreshadowing the challenges and conflicts that Maximus will face in the arena. Maintain a sense of urgency and excitement to keep the audience engaged.



Scene 23 -  Trainer's Lair Negotiations
INT. COLOSSEUM - TRAINER'S LAIR - DAY

Proximo is with a dozen other gladiator trainers and the
Colosseum's orator and majordomo, CASSIUS.
69.
They are haggling in an secluded area not far from the arena
itself. Huge chalkboards chart the day's matches and wagers
and odds.

Colosseum touts continually erase and mark new figures on the
chalkboards to keep up with the swiftly changing bouts.

The roar of the lions and the unnerving screams of the
Christians can clearly be heard.

CASSIUS
... and the Emperor will have no
more animal battles today --

Upset roars from some of the trainers.

TRAINER #1
You promised me a bear match,
Cassius!

TRAINER #2
I have ten damned gorillas! You
said gorillas yesterday!

CASSIUS
Talk to the man in the imperial
box. Who has the next slot...?
(he checks the boards)
-- Lentulus, Gideon, Trebonius and
Proximo --
(to Proximo)
-- Nice to have you back, you
piratical bastard -- now listen,
the Emperor wants the Carthage
spectacle.

The four trainers explode in a flurry of resistance --

PROXIMO
No -- have pity, Cassius -- !

TRAINER #3
My men are too good for -- !

CASSIUS
You give us the Carthage match or
lose your spot on the rotation --
but don't worry -- gold is flowing
from the Emperor's fingers.

TRAINER #3
It'll cost you --
70.

PROXIMO
I won't do it for less than 100,000
sesterces -- !

TRAINER #4
120,000! All I have is my best
Thracians!

CASSIUS
(to Proximo)
And I want to see this famous
Spaniard of yours -- his reputation
soars from the provinces. The
people are eager for him --

PROXIMO
I won't throw my Spaniard into a
spectacle! Damn you and damn the
rotation!

CASSIUS
You will and the price will be
90,000 sesterces each --
(to all)
-- which you all know is exorbitant
-- AND IF YOU EXTORTING BLOOD-
WHORES TRY TO PAWN OFF LESSER
FIGHTERS ON ME I WILL SEE YOU DEAD
IN THE ARENA TOMORROW!

TRAINER #4
My Thracians are worth -- !

CASSIUS
Give me your best, brothers. They
die before Caesar.

He strides back to the arena. The touts instantly begin
making new marks on the boards to represent the mysterious
"Carthage Spectacle" as some of the trainers hurry out.

Proximo walks with Trainer #4:

PROXIMO
I give you 30,000 my Spaniard will
kill at least one of your
Thracians.

TRAINER #4
30,000?! On a Spaniard?! That
provincial sun has curdled your
brain!
71.

PROXIMO
Then make the wager, you smug
bastard!

They disappear down a dark corridor, negotiating all the
while.
Genres: ["Drama","Action","Historical"]

Summary In the Colosseum's Trainer's Lair, trainers negotiate with the Colosseum's orator over matches and wagers. The orator demands a Carthage spectacle, infuriating the trainers. One trainer refuses, leading to a heated exchange. After negotiations, he agrees for 90,000 sesterces and bets another trainer 30,000 sesterces that his gladiator will kill one of the Thracians in the fight.
Strengths
  • Intense dialogue
  • Tense atmosphere
  • High stakes negotiation
Weaknesses
  • Limited character development in this specific scene

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene is engaging, filled with tension, and sets up important plot points for the story.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of negotiating for gladiator matches and the high financial stakes involved is intriguing and adds depth to the world of the Colosseum.

Plot: 8

The plot is advanced through the negotiations and the introduction of upcoming battles, adding layers to the story.

Originality: 9

The scene presents a fresh take on the gladiator genre by focusing on the behind-the-scenes negotiations and moral dilemmas faced by trainers. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds to the originality.


Character Development

Characters: 7

The characters show determination and resistance in their negotiations, giving insight into their motivations and personalities.

Character Changes: 6

While there are no significant character changes in this scene, the interactions reveal more about the characters' personalities and motivations.

Internal Goal: 8

Proximo's internal goal is to protect his fighters and maintain his integrity as a trainer. He wants to ensure that his fighters are not thrown into dangerous spectacles for profit.

External Goal: 7

Proximo's external goal is to negotiate fair terms for his fighters in the upcoming matches, particularly the Carthage spectacle.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict between the trainers and the orator adds tension and drama to the scene, driving the narrative forward.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with conflicting goals and power dynamics between the characters.

High Stakes: 9

The high stakes involved in the negotiations and upcoming battles add tension and urgency to the scene.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by setting up upcoming battles and highlighting the challenges faced by the gladiators.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the shifting power dynamics and unexpected negotiations between the characters.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

The philosophical conflict in this scene is between profit and integrity. Proximo values the safety and well-being of his fighters, while Cassius prioritizes profit and pleasing the Emperor.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 7

The scene evokes tension and anxiety, drawing the audience into the high-stakes negotiations and power dynamics.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is confrontational and intense, reflecting the power struggles and high stakes in the scene.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of the high stakes, intense negotiations, and moral dilemmas faced by the characters.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by maintaining tension and momentum throughout the negotiation.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The scene follows the expected formatting for a screenplay set in ancient Rome, with clear scene headings and character actions.

Structure: 8

The scene follows the expected structure for a negotiation scene in a historical drama, with clear dialogue and action beats.


Critique
  • The scene lacks a clear focus or central conflict, making it feel disjointed and chaotic. The negotiations between Proximo, Cassius, and the other trainers are interesting but get lost in the shuffle of loud background noises and rapid dialogue.
  • The dialogue is heavy on exposition and lacks subtlety, with characters bluntly stating their intentions and motivations. This makes the scene feel forced and unnatural.
  • The scene could benefit from more visual descriptions to create a vivid and immersive setting. The focus on the chalkboards and the negotiations could be enhanced with more attention to detail.
  • The pacing of the scene is uneven, with rapid shifts in tone and focus. This makes it difficult for the audience to fully engage with the characters and their motivations.
  • There is a missed opportunity to build tension and suspense in the negotiations over the Carthage spectacle. Adding more conflict and stakes to the interactions between the trainers and Cassius could elevate the scene.
Suggestions
  • Consider streamlining the dialogue to make it more natural and engaging. Focus on subtext and character dynamics to add depth to the interactions.
  • Introduce more visual elements to enhance the setting and create a more immersive experience for the audience. Show, don't tell.
  • Clarify the central conflict of the scene and ensure that all elements contribute to building tension and advancing the plot. Cut any extraneous details that do not serve the narrative.
  • Work on the pacing of the scene to create a more cohesive and engaging flow. Allow moments to breathe and build, rather than rushing through dialogue and actions.
  • Explore ways to increase the stakes and emotional impact of the negotiations over the Carthage spectacle. Add layers of complexity to the characters' motivations and goals.



Scene 24 -  The Colosseum Battle
INT. COLOSSEUM - HOLDING CELLS - DAY

Maximus, Juba, Vibius and another of Proximo's gladiators are
being armed. They all wear mask-like helmets.

Proximo hurries to them.

PROXIMO
All right -- there are three other
teams, four men each --
(to Maximus)
You know what a Thracian looks
like?

MAXIMUS
Yes, but --

PROXIMO
Ignore the others -- go for the
Thracians. The sun is to the east -
- over the gate -- keep your back
to the gate and you won't have the
sun.

MAXIMUS
What -- ?

Trumpets begin sounding from the arena.

PROXIMO
Hurry -- !

The guards quickly bustle the four toward a gate leading to a
dark tunnel to the arena.

PROXIMO (cont’d)
Die well and we'll sing songs about
you for a generation.

Short swords are shoved into their hands and the gate rises.
They are pushed into the dark tunnel leading to the arena.
The gate closes behind them.

The four gladiators stand for a moment and then slowly walk
down the tunnel to...
72.


EXT. COLOSSEUM - ARENA - DAY

At last we see it.

The mighty Colosseum Arena.

Nothing we could have possibly imagined could have prepared
us for the sight of the thousands and thousands of screaming
spectators, the row after row of cheering faces.

It is staggering.

But for Maximus none of this exists. His full attention is
focused on one spot alone. The Imperial Box.

He can see Commodus and Lucilla sitting in the box. The box
is elevated fifteen feet above the arena floor at the top of
a sheer black marble wall. A cohort of fifty imposing
Praetorian Guard Archers surround the box. Commodus' personal
Body Guard of six Centurions actually stand in the box
itself, eyes constantly watching like modern Secret Service
agents.

Commodus is untouchable.

Meanwhile, three teams move from different entrances to the
arena.

As Cassius orates to the crowd:

CASSIUS
This day we reach back to hallowed
antiquity to bring you... THE FALL
OF MIGHTY CARTHAGE...!
(the crowd cheers) )
... On the barren armies of the
barbarian Hannibal! Ferocious
mercenaries and warriors of all
brute nations bent on merciless
conquest! Your Emperor is pleased
to give you... THE BARBARIAN HORDE!

He gestures to the gladiators in the arena. The crowd
laughs, jeering the "barbarians."

The drummers begin pounding out a more insistent, heroic
beat.

CASSIUS (cont’d)
But on that illustrious day the
Gods sent against them Rome's
greatest warriors...!
(MORE)
73.
CASSIUS(cont'd)
The very life-image of nobility and
glorious valor... who would on this
day, and on these same arid
Numidian deserts, decide THE FATE
OF THE EMPIRE... Your Emperor is
pleased to give you... THE
LEGIONNAIRES OF SCIPIO AFRICANUS!!

The crowd EXPLODES in cheers as the huge doors at one end of
the arena suddenly burst open and ten chariots thunder in --

Each chariot has a driver and an archer, both dressed in
theatrical versions of the familiar Roman Lorica Segmentata.

A chaos of dust -- and the battle is on --

The chariots zoom around the arena -- the archers keeping up
a deadly hail of arrows.

Maximus immediately dives onto a passing chariot and kills
the charioteer and archer -- he dramatically leaps from the
front of the chariot to a lead horse and cuts it free.

And Maximus takes control, we see the General of the Felix
Regiment gloriously alive again as he barks out orders and
leads his gladiators in battle. They follow him faithfully,
his stern commands unquestioned.

His strategies and smart, he makes the gladiators work
together.

This kind of slaughter could last for hours...

We see flashes of the endless battle... Maximus races on his
horse past another chariot, kills the driver, the chariot
smashes into a wall... the sun sinks lower, the shadows on
the sand lengthen... areas of the sand are swamps of blood,
Juba slips, pulls himself up fighting... Maximus uses Vibius
to create a diversion, two chariots collide... the crowd
roars... a gladiator is dragged between a chariot and the
side wall of the arena... the drummers pound out their
relentless tattoo...

Finally...

Maximus is on his horse across from the final chariot.

We can see that Juba and Vibius and a few other gladiators
are still alive. The rest of the arena is polluted with the
dead and injured. Maximus spurs his horse and gallops toward
the final chariot -- the charioteer whips his horses and
zooms toward Maximus --

The crowd is breathless -- watching the final battle --
74.

Maximus and the chariot speed toward each other -- like
Medieval jousters --

And collide in a flashing explosion of steel -- Maximus sails
from his horse -- as the charioteer sails from his chariot --

Maximus lands hard but quickly pulls himself up, he races to
the final charioteer. The charioteer is defeated but not
dead.

Maximus glances around, all his opponents are defeated.

He stands over the final charioteer. Then he simply tosses
down his sword.

The crowd is stunned by this strange act of mercy. But then
an enormous roar grows from the crowd -- wave after wave of
adulation for the hero of the day.

Maximus looks around, taking it all in. Then he turns to the
Imperial Box. Maximus slowly walks to before the the Imperial
Box. The Praetorian Archers immediately raise their bows,
pointing down at him.

Maximus glares up at Commodus through his helmet mask.
Commodus returns his gaze, curious.

The crowd is intrigued, growing quiet. What is going on?

Then Maximus simply turns and begins walking away.

COMMODUS
Slave! Who are you?

The Colosseum is suddenly silent. The Emperor is speaking to
a gladiator.

Maximus keeps walking.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
SLAVE! WHO ARE YOU?

Maximus keeps walking, his fists clenched now.

Commodus suddenly grabs a spear from a nearby Praetorian and
hurls it with perfect aim -- the crowd gasps -- the spear
sails past Maximus -- actually nicking his shoulder -- it
slices into the sand ahead of Maximus.

Maximus stops.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
SLAVE! WHO ARE YOU?!
75.

Maximus can hold it no longer. He spins to Commodus --
ripping off his helmet mask -- and THUNDERING:

MAXIMUS
I AM MAXIMUS MERIDAS, GENERAL OF
THE FELIX REGIMENT OF THE ROMAN
ARMY AND SERVANT TO THE EMPEROR
MARCUS AURELIUS!

Commodus eyes shoot wide -- Lucilla bolts up -- Gracchus
leans forward -- Proximo is stunned -- the crowd is mystified
--

MAXIMUS (cont’d)
I AM FATHER TO A MURDERED SON AND
HUSBAND TO A MURDERED WIFE AND
LANDLORD TO A MURDERED WORLD -- AND
I WILL HAVE VENGEANCE!

The Praetorian Archers tense their bows -- ready to kill the
defiant slave --

But something extraordinary stops them. Almost as one being
the crowd roars -- they leaps to their feet and thrust their
thumbs up! They cheer and stomp their approval of Maximus.

Commodus looks around at the people of Rome, amazed.

He finally plasters on a benevolent smile and thrusts his
thumb up! The Praetorians lower their bows.

And the crowd cheers. Never in the long, long history of the
Colosseum have they ever seen such a thing.

Maximus leads his gladiators out of the arena.
Genres: ["Action","Drama","Historical"]

Summary Armed and instructed, Maximus and his fellow gladiators enter the Colosseum arena, engaging in a fierce battle against chariots and other gladiators. Maximus leads the charge, emerging victorious and dramatically revealing his identity to Commodus and the crowd, vowing vengeance.
Strengths
  • Powerful emotional moments
  • Intense action sequences
  • Compelling character development
  • Memorable dialogue
  • High stakes and conflict
Weaknesses
  • Some cliched elements in the gladiatorial setting
  • Predictable outcome of the final battle

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene is highly impactful, with a strong emotional resonance, intense action sequences, and significant character development. It sets up a pivotal moment in the story and leaves a lasting impression on the audience.


Story Content

Concept: 9

The concept of a gladiator revealing his true identity and seeking vengeance in the Colosseum is a compelling and innovative idea. It adds depth to the character of Maximus and raises the stakes for the overall narrative.

Plot: 8

The plot in this scene is well-executed, with a clear progression of events leading to a climactic moment of revelation and defiance. It advances the story and sets up future conflicts and resolutions.

Originality: 8

The scene offers a fresh take on the gladiatorial battle genre, blending elements of historical accuracy with dramatic storytelling. The characters' actions and dialogue feel authentic and compelling.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters, especially Maximus, are well-developed and undergo significant growth in this scene. Maximus's transformation from a gladiator to a vengeful hero is compelling and adds depth to the overall narrative.

Character Changes: 8

Maximus undergoes a significant character change in this scene, transitioning from a resigned gladiator to a vengeful hero determined to seek justice for his family. This transformation sets the stage for his future actions and decisions.

Internal Goal: 9

Maximus's internal goal is to seek vengeance for the murder of his family and to assert his identity as a respected Roman general.

External Goal: 8

Maximus's external goal is to survive the gladiatorial battle and potentially challenge Commodus's authority.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict in the scene is intense and multi-layered, with internal struggles, external threats, and moral dilemmas driving the narrative forward. The confrontation between Maximus and Commodus raises the stakes and sets the stage for future confrontations.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with Maximus facing off against Commodus and the Praetorian Guard, creating a sense of danger and uncertainty.

High Stakes: 9

The stakes in the scene are high, with Maximus risking his life and defying the Emperor in a bold and dangerous move. The outcome of this confrontation will have far-reaching consequences for the characters and the story.

Story Forward: 9

The scene moves the story forward significantly, introducing new conflicts, resolutions, and character developments that will impact the overall narrative. It sets up future events and establishes key plot points for the rest of the story.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable due to the unexpected turn of events, such as Maximus revealing his true identity and challenging Commodus in front of the crowd.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

The philosophical conflict in this scene is between Maximus's sense of honor, justice, and duty as a Roman general, and Commodus's ruthless and power-hungry nature as Emperor.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene has a high emotional impact, with moments of tragedy, defiance, and heroism resonating with the audience. Maximus's journey from despair to determination evokes strong emotions and creates a memorable cinematic experience.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue in the scene is impactful and serves to enhance the emotional and dramatic elements. Maximus's powerful declaration of vengeance is a standout moment that resonates with the audience.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its high stakes, intense action, and emotional depth, keeping the audience invested in Maximus's journey.

Pacing: 9

The pacing of the scene effectively builds tension and excitement, leading to a climactic confrontation between Maximus and Commodus.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The scene's formatting is clear and effective, with smooth transitions between locations and action sequences.

Structure: 9

The scene follows a well-paced and engaging structure, building tension and conflict leading to a climactic confrontation between Maximus and Commodus.


Critique
  • The scene transitions abruptly from the gladiators being armed in the holding cells to the grand spectacle of the Colosseum without a smooth transition or buildup.
  • The dialogue between Proximo and Maximus feels rushed and lacks depth, missing an opportunity to delve into Maximus's mindset and emotions before entering the arena.
  • The description of the Colosseum and the crowd is vivid and engaging, but the focus on the Imperial Box and Commodus's presence could be more subtly integrated into the scene.
  • The sudden shift in Maximus's behavior, from following Proximo's instructions to defying Commodus, feels somewhat forced and could benefit from more development and motivation.
  • The resolution of the scene, with Maximus revealing his identity and the crowd's immediate approval, seems too convenient and lacks a sense of tension or conflict.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding a smoother transition between the preparation in the holding cells and the entrance into the Colosseum to build anticipation and suspense.
  • Expand on the dialogue between Proximo and Maximus to provide insight into Maximus's internal struggle and motivations before his dramatic declaration in the arena.
  • Integrate the description of the Colosseum and the crowd with Maximus's actions and emotions to create a more cohesive and immersive scene.
  • Develop Maximus's decision to defy Commodus more gradually, showing his internal conflict and building up to the climactic moment of revealing his identity.
  • Add more complexity to the resolution of the scene by introducing obstacles or challenges that Maximus must overcome before gaining the crowd's approval, creating a more satisfying and realistic outcome.



Scene 25 -  Caesar's Plot
INT. PALACE - THRONE ROOM - NIGHT

To our great surprise, Commodus is not raging. He sits
quietly on the polished marble floor in front of a model of
the Colosseum. He moves model pieces around in the
Colosseum, planning his festival.

Lucilla stands, tense.

COMMODUS
Why is he still alive?

LUCILLA
I don't know.
76.

COMMODUS
He shouldn't be alive. That vexes
me. I am terribly vexed...

Lucilla watches her brother cautiously, expecting the
explosion. He carefully moves some model pieces in the
arena.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
There, that's better. Do you like
the platform here?

LUCILLA
Mmm.

COMMODUS
I do too. Simple, elegant...

Lucilla is growing more and more unnerved at Commodus'
unusual serenity.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
Father would have wanted something
more ornate but he's dead now.

A beat. Commodus laughs. A beat.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
Maximus Meridas haunts me. I see
Father turning away from me and
gazing at him. How many times did
I suffer that indignity, I wonder?

LUCILLA
What are you going to do?

COMMODUS
I'm going to kill him.

LUCILLA
Good.

COMMODUS
(glances at her)
Oh, you're too clever, Sister.
Don't tell me part of you won't
weep for him.

LUCILLA
When he defies my brother the
Emperor, he defies me. But you
shouldn't send assassins.
77.

COMMODUS
No?

LUCILLA
The people embraced him today.
They will be expecting his next
match...
(she kneels next to him)
... let him die in the arena like
the slave he is. Let the people
see what comes of defying Caesar.

A beat as he looks at her.

COMMODUS
He wounded you deeply, didn't he?
Long ago.

She does not answer.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
Nonetheless, your political acumen
is, as always, unerring.

He picks up a model tiger and puts it in the arena. He looks
at the model tiger and smiles.
Genres: ["Drama","Historical"]

Summary Commodus, a Caesar consumed by rage, meticulously plans Maximus' demise within the Colosseum's arena using a model. His sister Lucilla, torn between loyalty and political strategy, suggests Maximus' death as a means to quell the masses. Commodus, acknowledging her cunning, places a tiger miniature within the model, foreshadowing the fate awaiting Maximus.
Strengths
  • Complex character dynamics
  • Tension-filled dialogue
  • Intriguing plot development
Weaknesses
  • Dialogue could be more dynamic
  • Emotional impact could be stronger

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively sets up the power dynamics between Commodus and Lucilla, hinting at future conflicts and resolutions.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of using the arena as a tool for political manipulation and revenge is intriguing and well-executed.

Plot: 8

The plot thickens as Commodus plans Maximus's demise in the arena, adding layers of tension and intrigue.

Originality: 9

The scene offers a fresh take on the power dynamics and moral dilemmas of ancient Rome, with complex characters and conflicting motivations. The authenticity of the dialogue and actions adds to the originality of the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The complex relationship between Commodus and Lucilla is well-developed, showcasing their conflicting motivations and desires.

Character Changes: 6

While there are no significant character changes in this scene, the dynamics between Commodus and Lucilla evolve subtly.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to assert his power and control over his sister and the situation. It reflects his need for validation and dominance, as well as his fear of being defied or undermined.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal is to plan the festival and deal with the threat posed by Maximus. It reflects the immediate challenge of maintaining his authority and eliminating a potential rival.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

The conflict between Commodus and Lucilla, as well as the impending showdown in the arena, creates a high level of tension.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with conflicting goals and values driving the conflict between the characters and creating uncertainty for the audience.

High Stakes: 9

The stakes are high as Commodus plans Maximus's death in the arena, setting the stage for a dramatic showdown.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by setting up future conflicts and resolutions, particularly in the arena.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the shifting power dynamics and conflicting motivations of the characters, keeping the audience on edge.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

The philosophical conflict in this scene is between power and morality. Commodus is willing to kill Maximus to maintain his rule, while Lucilla advocates for a more public and symbolic death in the arena. This challenges Commodus' ruthless approach and forces him to consider the consequences of his actions.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 7

The emotional impact is moderate, with hints of betrayal, vengeance, and manipulation.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue effectively conveys the power struggle between Commodus and Lucilla, but could be more dynamic.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its intense character dynamics, moral ambiguity, and suspenseful plot developments.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene is well-balanced, with a gradual build-up of tension and emotional intensity leading to a climactic revelation.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The formatting of the scene is clear and concise, with effective use of dialogue and action lines to convey the characters' emotions and intentions.

Structure: 8

The scene follows the expected structure for a dramatic confrontation in a historical setting, with clear character motivations and escalating tension.


Critique
  • The scene lacks a sense of urgency and tension considering the high stakes involved. Commodus' calm demeanor and focus on planning the festival do not align with the imminent threat posed by Maximus. This diminishes the impact of the conflict between the characters.
  • The dialogue between Commodus and Lucilla feels somewhat forced and lacks depth. There is an opportunity to delve deeper into their complex relationship and conflicting emotions towards Maximus.
  • The transition from the previous scene, where Maximus leads his gladiators out of the arena to this scene, is abrupt and disjointed. There is a disconnect in the pacing and tone between the two scenes.
  • The scene could benefit from more visual cues and descriptive language to create a vivid and immersive setting. Details about the model Colosseum and the characters' body language could enhance the atmosphere and tension of the scene.
  • The lack of physical action or movement in the scene contributes to a static and passive dynamic between the characters. Introducing more physical interactions or gestures could add depth to their emotions and motivations.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more conflict and tension between Commodus and Lucilla to heighten the emotional stakes of the scene. Explore their inner turmoil and conflicting loyalties to make the dialogue more engaging.
  • Introduce elements of suspense and unpredictability to keep the audience on edge. Utilize foreshadowing or subtle hints to build anticipation for the impending confrontation between Maximus and Commodus.
  • Enhance the visual elements of the scene by describing the intricate details of the model Colosseum and the characters' movements. Use sensory imagery to create a more immersive and engaging setting.
  • Focus on character development and internal struggles to add depth to the interactions between Commodus and Lucilla. Explore their vulnerabilities, fears, and motivations to make the scene more compelling.
  • Consider incorporating moments of physical action or movement to break up the dialogue-heavy scenes and add a dynamic element to the interaction between the characters. Use gestures and body language to convey emotions and intentions.



Scene 26 -  Unexpected Visitor
INT. PROXIMO'S COMPOUND - CELL - NIGHT

Maximus silently awaits Commodus' assassins with Juba. They
hear footsteps outside the cell. Maximus stands, preparing
for death.

JUBA
(also standing)
I will fight with you.

MAXIMUS
This isn't your battle.

JUBA
Better to die for a friend than to
die for gold.

The door swings open and they are surprised to see Proximo
sweeping in with a cloaked woman. The woman gives Proximo a
bag of money.

PROXIMO
Enjoy yourself, Madame...
(he glances to Maximus)
(MORE)
78.
PROXIMO(cont'd)
General, perform well and there
will be riches for you.

He beckons to Juba, they go, shutting the door behind them.
The woman pulls off her cloak, it is Lucilla.

Maximus glares at her, his muscles tensing.

LUCILLA
Rich matrons pay well to be
pleasured by the bravest champions.

Maximus backs up, fighting the urge to strangle her on the
spot. He finally bumps into a wall of the cell.

MAXIMUS
I knew your brother would send
assassins. I didn't think he would
send his best.

LUCILLA
Maximus, listen to me --

MAXIMUS
My family were crucified and burnt
while they were still alive.

LUCILLA
I knew nothing of that.

MAXIMUS
(low)
Don't lie to me.

LUCILLA
I wept for them.

MAXIMUS
Don't.

A long, tense moment.

She does not look at him.

LUCILLA
Do you know what it is to be the
daughter of the Emperor? I learned
on the night my father had my
husband killed. I loved my husband
very much. Very... simply. He was
a man who believed in the Republic.
He was a man who thought Marcus
should be tending to Rome and not
conquering the world.
(MORE)
79.
LUCILLA(cont'd)
One night my father had him
strangled for conspiring with the
Senate. My father never spoke of
it. I never spoke of it. That is
what it is to be the daughter of
Rome.

She finally looks up at Maximus.

LUCILLA (cont’d)
My son will live. He will survive
this cursed bloodline. Rome will
die and the jackals will pick her
clean -- but my son will survive.
Empires come and go. Cities
crumble to dust. Only family
matters.

A beat. Despite himself, Maximus is moved.

MAXIMUS
My son was innocent.

LUCILLA
So is mine.

A beat.

MAXIMUS
I want your brother dead.

LUCILLA
So do I.

A beat. Maximus is surprised at her direct answer.

LUCILLA (cont’d)
My son will never be safe while he
lives.

A beat.

MAXIMUS
How do you plan it?

LUCILLA
The Senate is with us, and the City
Guard. We have growing power in
the streets. But we need a leader.
Someone the people can --

MAXIMUS
So the crown passes to your son.
80.

LUCILLA
No. So that my son will be safe.
So that we may leave this charnel
house forever and never look back.
Look into my eyes, Maximus, and
believe what I say to you...

She rivets him intensely with her eyes.

LUCILLA (cont’d)
By all the Gods, and in the name of
my father who loved you, and in the
name of the husband I loved... I
swear to stand by your side in this
now and always.

A beat.

MAXIMUS
What is your son's name?

LUCILLA
Lucius Verus. Like his father.

MAXIMUS
I weep for him.

A long beat. Maximus' cold eyes give away nothing.

Lucilla turns and starts to go. She stops, not looking back.

LUCILLA
Commodus plans to kill you in your
next match in the arena. He's
planning something. I will pray
for you. As I have always done.

She then pulls something from her robes and sets it down, a
little bundle wrapped in cloth. She sweeps out. The sound
of the door being bolted shut on the other side.

Maximus stands for a moment and then goes to what she has
left. He opens the cloth. Inside are his six "ancestor"
figures.

He picks up one of the figures. He looks at it deeply,
gently feeling along the contours with a finger.
Genres: ["Drama","Action","Historical"]

Summary In the depths of a cell, Maximus and Juba brace for assassins. However, Proximo arrives with a twist, introducing Lucilla, who reveals a sinister plot. Driven by vengeance for her slain husband, Lucilla seeks Maximus's aid in dethroning the treacherous Commodus. Maximus, swayed by her desperation, accepts her plea, pledging to avenge her loss and restore order.
Strengths
  • Intense emotional conflict
  • Revealing character interactions
  • High-stakes plot development
Weaknesses
  • Some dialogue may be overly dramatic or expository

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene is emotionally charged, revealing key character motivations and setting up a high-stakes conflict.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of seeking revenge against a tyrannical ruler is a timeless and compelling theme that drives the scene forward.

Plot: 9

The plot advances significantly as Maximus and Lucilla form an alliance to take down Commodus, setting the stage for a dramatic confrontation.

Originality: 9

The scene introduces fresh perspectives on loyalty, betrayal, and family dynamics in ancient Rome. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds to the originality of the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters of Maximus and Lucilla are well-developed, with their conflicting emotions and motivations adding depth to the scene.

Character Changes: 8

Both Maximus and Lucilla undergo a significant shift in their relationship, moving from distrust to a shared goal of vengeance.

Internal Goal: 9

Maximus' internal goal in this scene is to seek revenge for the death of his family and to protect his son's legacy. This reflects his deeper need for justice and closure.

External Goal: 8

Maximus' external goal is to survive the upcoming match in the arena and to thwart Commodus' plans to kill him. This reflects the immediate challenge he is facing in the scene.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict between Maximus and Commodus is heightened as Maximus learns of Commodus' plan to kill him in the arena.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with conflicting values and goals between Maximus and Lucilla. The audience is left wondering how their alliance will play out.

High Stakes: 9

The stakes are high as Maximus and Lucilla plot to take down Commodus, risking their lives and the future of Rome.

Story Forward: 9

The scene propels the story forward by setting up the climactic confrontation between Maximus and Commodus.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the unexpected alliances and revelations between Maximus and Lucilla. The audience is kept on edge, unsure of the characters' true intentions.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

The philosophical conflict in this scene revolves around the themes of loyalty, betrayal, and the importance of family. Maximus and Lucilla have conflicting values and beliefs, but they find common ground in their desire to protect their sons.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions of sadness, anger, and determination, particularly in Maximus and Lucilla's interactions.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is intense and revealing, showcasing the characters' inner turmoil and conflicting loyalties.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of the intense emotional conflicts, dramatic revelations, and complex character dynamics. The tension keeps the audience invested in the outcome.

Pacing: 9

The pacing of the scene is well-executed, with a gradual build-up of tension, emotional revelations, and character development. The rhythm of the dialogue adds to the scene's effectiveness.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The scene follows the expected formatting for its genre, with clear scene descriptions and character actions. The dialogue is well-written and impactful.

Structure: 9

The scene follows the expected structure for its genre, with a clear setup, conflict, and resolution. The pacing and rhythm contribute to its effectiveness.


Critique
  • The scene is emotionally charged and filled with tension between Maximus and Lucilla, which is well portrayed through their dialogue and interactions.
  • The revelation of Lucilla's past and her motivations adds depth to her character and creates a compelling dynamic with Maximus.
  • The scene effectively conveys Maximus' grief and desire for vengeance, as well as Lucilla's conflicted feelings towards her family and her loyalty to Maximus.
  • The dialogue is impactful and reveals important backstory and character motivations, enhancing the overall narrative.
  • The scene successfully sets up the stakes for the upcoming conflict between Maximus and Commodus, as well as the alliance forming between Maximus and Lucilla.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more physical actions or gestures to enhance the tension and emotions between Maximus and Lucilla.
  • Explore the internal thoughts and struggles of Maximus more explicitly to further deepen his character development.
  • Provide more visual descriptions to create a vivid and immersive setting for the audience.
  • Consider incorporating subtle hints or foreshadowing of future events to build anticipation and suspense.
  • Ensure a clear resolution or cliffhanger at the end of the scene to keep the audience engaged and eager to see what happens next.



Scene 27 -  Clash of Champions
EXT. COLOSSEUM - ARENA - DAY

The Colosseum is again packed. Commodus, Lucilla and her son
Lucius are in the Imperial Box.
81.
It is late in the day and teams of slaves are cleaning the
arena after a bout. They haul off carcasses and toss down
fresh sand.

Meanwhile, Cassius is orating to the crowd:

CASSIUS
... in his majestic charity the
Emperor has deigned to this day
favor the people of Rome with an
historical final match. Returning
to the Colosseum today... after
five years in retirement... Caesar
is pleased to bring you... THE ONLY
UNDEFEATED CHAMPION IN ROMAN
HISTORY...
(the crowd is going mad)
... THE LEGENDARY... TIGER OF
GAUL!!

The crowd erupts in paroxysms of joy as TIGER explodes into
the arena in an ornate chariot. Tiger is a fierce man in his
40's, his brutal, scarred face and hugely muscled body a
testament to his many years in the arena.

Tiger speeds around the rim of the arena in his chariot,
raising an arm in triumph. The crowd roars.


INT. COLOSSEUM - HOLDING CELLS - DAY

Proximo stands with Maximus, who is busy strapping on armor.

PROXIMO
Gods! That old Homicide! The
Emperor must truly hate you.

MAXIMUS
What can you tell me?

PROXIMO
He cheats.


INT. COLOSSEUM - ARENA - DAY

Tiger waits. He stands in the center of the arena. He has
only a traditional short sword. The crowd is breathless with
anticipation. As:

CASSIUS
(orating)
And from the rocky promontories and
martial bloodlines of Spain...
(MORE)
82.
CASSIUS(cont'd)
representing the training lyceum of
Proximo Antoninus... I give you...
THE WARRIOR MAXIMUS!

The crowd cheers. Maximus appears from his gate. His fans
have increased in number considerably. They eagerly crane
forward and celebrate him.

Meanwhile, Maximus looks at Tiger. Only one man with a
sword? Maximus approaches, cautious but confident.

He stops a few feet from Tiger. They lock eyes, salute each
other and then turn to the Imperial Box, raising their
swords.

The crowd waits eagerly for the immortal words...

MAXIMUS AND TIGER
We who are about to die salute you.

The crowd cheers and Maximus immediately turns and starts
slashing -- Tiger easily blocks and strikes back --

The sword play is very fast -- they block and parry and hack
like lightning -- constantly attacking -- they are perfectly
matched --

As he fights Maximus becomes aware of a strange sound over
the roar of the crowd -- a low rumbling -- then he feels
something -- a vibration in the ground --

Suddenly traps doors swing open and four enormous platforms
rise into view. On each platform is a snarling Bengal tiger
restrained by a chain. Tiger's teams of "cornermen" hold the
chains through a pulley system. The cornermen are safely
inside cages. The platforms stop at ground level.

The four feroc ious tigers now mark the four corners of the
battleground.

Tiger takes advantage of Maximus' momentary confusion and
assaults brutally -- forcing him back toward one of the
tigers -- the tiger claws for Maximus -- Maximus just evades
it claws -- rolls for a new position -- another tiger snaps
at him --

Tiger attacks -- Maximus is on the defensive -- fighting off
Tiger and evading the four snarling beasts --

And then all four tigers are suddenly closer. The teams of
cornermen are letting the chains play out, bit by bit,
gradually reducing the size of the battle ground. The crowd
roars.
83.

But the fight is hardly fair. Whenever Tiger is near one of
the tigers the cornermen pull back the tiger slightly -- when
Maximus is near a tiger they let it out a bit. Maximus and
Tiger fight -- swirling action -- finally, Maximus has the
edge -- he circles so that the sun stabs into Tiger's eyes --
then Maximus lunges forward under Tiger's swinging sword and
SLAMS into him -- they fall -- a tiger swats at Maximus' face
-- he jerks his head back -- he shoots out a leg and kicks
Tiger's sword toward one of the tigers -- it is out of reach -
- Maximus leaps up and stands over the winded Tiger, sword to
his throat.

Tiger is gasping for breath, crushed.

Then one of Tiger's corners suddenly cheats -- they
completely release a tiger -- it leaps for Maximus --

Maximus barely has time to turn -- the tiger crashes into him
-- its claws slashing into his back, cutting through his
leather armor -- Maximus shoves an armored forearm into the
tiger's jaws and stabs with his sword --

Tiger takes this chance to pull himself up -- one of his
corners throws him another sword -- the crowd boos --

Maximus wrestles with the tiger -- spinning it around with
superhuman effort so it is always between himself and Tiger --
so that Tiger can't get at him --

Maximus finally kills the tiger and leaps for Tiger -- he
quickly disarms him and tosses him to the ground --

Maximus stands over him -- ready to administer the coup de
grace.

All eyes turn to the Emperor.

Commodus slowly stands and steps to the edge of the Imperial
Box. He raises his arm and gives the fatal thumbs down.

Maximus looks up at him. And then defiantly tosses the sword
to the ground, refusing to kill Tiger.

Commodus is stunned.

The crowd gasps -- a collective intake of breath -- and then
an enormous roar building. It cascades around the Colosseum.
It is a roaring celebration of the unexpected act of mercy.
And the delicious act of defiance of the Emperor.

Commodus slowly sits.
84.

Maximus walks across the arena -- the people stand and cheer
for him. Cries of "Maximus the Merciful" can be heard.

It is the birth of a hero.
Genres: ["Action","Drama"]

Summary In the ancient Colosseum, Maximus, a skilled warrior, faces his undefeated opponent, Tiger of Gaul. Amidst the roars of the crowd, Maximus engages in an intense sword fight with Tiger. As the battle rages on, tigers are released into the arena, adding a perilous twist to the fight. With his determination and resilience, Maximus refuses to kill Tiger, earning the admiration of the audience.
Strengths
  • Intense action sequences
  • Emotional depth
  • Character development
  • Unexpected twist with mercy
Weaknesses
  • Some cliched elements in the gladiatorial setting

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene is highly engaging, filled with intense action, emotional moments, and a significant character development for Maximus. The unexpected act of mercy and defiance towards the Emperor adds depth and intrigue to the story.


Story Content

Concept: 9

The concept of a gladiatorial battle in the Colosseum, combined with the introduction of tigers as additional obstacles, creates a compelling and unique setting for the scene.

Plot: 9

The plot is well-developed, with a clear progression from the preparation for the battle to the unexpected turn of events with Maximus showing mercy. The scene moves the story forward significantly and sets up future conflicts.

Originality: 9

The scene offers a fresh take on the gladiatorial combat genre by focusing on themes of mercy and defiance, as well as incorporating unexpected twists and moral complexity.


Character Development

Characters: 8

The characters, especially Maximus, show depth and growth in this scene. Maximus's decision to spare his opponent and defy the Emperor reveals his moral compass and sets him up as a heroic figure.

Character Changes: 8

Maximus undergoes a significant change in this scene, transitioning from a skilled warrior to a merciful hero. His decision to spare Tiger showcases his moral growth and sets him on a new path.

Internal Goal: 9

Maximus's internal goal in this scene is to maintain his honor and integrity by refusing to kill his opponent, Tiger, despite the Emperor's command. This reflects his deeper values of mercy and defiance against tyranny.

External Goal: 8

Maximus's external goal is to win the gladiatorial match against Tiger and survive the dangerous battle in the arena. This goal reflects the immediate challenge he faces in the fight for his life.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict between Maximus and Tiger, as well as the underlying tension with Commodus and the Emperor, creates a high-stakes and intense atmosphere in the scene.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with Maximus facing multiple challenges in the gladiatorial battle, including his opponent Tiger and the Emperor's command, creating uncertainty and suspense for the audience.

High Stakes: 9

The stakes are incredibly high in this scene, with Maximus risking his life and defying the Emperor in front of a massive crowd. The outcome of the battle and Maximus's decision have far-reaching consequences.

Story Forward: 9

The scene propels the story forward by revealing Maximus's true character, setting up future conflicts with Commodus, and solidifying Maximus's role as a central figure in the narrative.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable due to the unexpected twist of Maximus's act of mercy towards his opponent, defying the audience's expectations and adding complexity to the narrative.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

The philosophical conflict in this scene is between the values of mercy and power. Maximus's act of mercy towards Tiger challenges the Emperor's authority and highlights the contrast between compassion and cruelty.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions, from tension and excitement during the battle to relief and triumph when Maximus shows mercy. The audience is deeply invested in Maximus's journey.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue is impactful, especially during the interaction between Maximus and Tiger in the arena. The iconic line 'We who are about to die salute you' adds to the intensity of the moment.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its high stakes, intense action, and emotional depth, keeping the audience invested in Maximus's journey and moral dilemma.

Pacing: 9

The pacing of the scene effectively builds tension and suspense, leading to a climactic moment of decision and action that resonates with the audience.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The scene is formatted effectively, with clear transitions between locations and action sequences, enhancing the readability and impact of the storytelling.

Structure: 9

The scene follows a well-paced and engaging structure, building tension through the gladiatorial battle and culminating in a powerful moment of moral choice.


Critique
  • The scene starts with a strong visual of the Colosseum being packed and the arena being cleaned after a bout, setting the stage for the upcoming fight between Maximus and Tiger.
  • The introduction of Tiger as the undefeated champion adds tension and excitement to the scene, setting up a formidable opponent for Maximus.
  • The dialogue by Cassius hypes up the crowd and creates anticipation for the fight, adding to the overall atmosphere of the scene.
  • The fight between Maximus and Tiger is well-described, with detailed action sequences and a clear progression of events leading to a dramatic climax.
  • The introduction of the tigers as additional obstacles in the fight adds an element of danger and unpredictability, increasing the stakes for Maximus.
  • Maximus's decision to show mercy to Tiger instead of killing him showcases his character and sets him apart as a hero in the eyes of the crowd.
  • The crowd's reaction to Maximus's act of mercy and defiance towards Commodus adds depth to the scene and highlights the shifting dynamics of power and admiration.
  • The scene effectively portrays Maximus's transformation into a hero and sets the stage for his continued journey towards confronting Commodus.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more internal thoughts or emotions for Maximus during the fight to provide insight into his mindset and motivations.
  • Explore the relationship between Maximus and Tiger further to create a more intense and personal conflict between the two fighters.
  • Enhance the dialogue between Maximus and Tiger to add depth to their interaction and showcase their respective personalities.
  • Provide more context or backstory for Tiger to make him a more compelling and memorable opponent for Maximus.
  • Consider incorporating more sensory details to immerse the reader in the sights, sounds, and emotions of the arena and the fight.



Scene 28 -  The Road to Confrontation
INT. COLOSSEUM - HOLDING CELLS - DAY

Maximus is resting in his cell after the battle, head down,
deep in thought.

LUCIUS' VOICE
Is it true you're a General...?

Maximus looks up, Lucius is standing at his cell. Maximus
has no idea who the boy is -- just another young fan -- but
Maximus is immediately struck by Lucius' resemblance to his
own son.

MAXIMUS
I was a General.

LUCIUS
I saw you fight. The Carthage
battle too. I've never seen so
much courage.

MAXIMUS
It doesn't take courage to kill.

LUCIUS
My father was killed.

A beat.

MAXIMUS
I'm sorry.

LUCIUS
He still comes to me in my dreams.
Do you have a father?

MAXIMUS
I had a father. He wasn't really
my father but I cared for him very
much.

LUCIUS
I hope he comes to you in your
dreams. My father and I ride
horses in mine.

These simple words strike something deep in Maximus.
85.

Lucilla appears from the shadows and puts her hands on
Lucius' shoulders.

LUCILLA
Lucius, run along now. I need to
talk to the General.

Lucius runs off to his Male ATTENDANT, who leads him away.

A long beat as Maximus and Lucilla look at each other.

Finally:

MAXIMUS
Where is my army?

A drum beat is heard. It increases throughout the following
scenes, building momentum like a Roman gallery accelerating
to ramming speed.

The conspiracy scenes are enclosed in a montage of scenes in
and around the arena showing Maximus' growing popularity with
the People of Rome...


EXT. COLOSSEUM - ARENA - DAY

Maximus is fighting an opponent.

The drums continue...


INT. THE SENATE - DAY

Lucilla conspires with Senators Gracchus and Gaius and
Captain Marcellus in a dark corner of the Senate. Whispers.

LUCILLA
... Maximus will summon his army
from Ostia and he will strike from
the inside as his army strikes from
the outside. But he insists that
the Senate be present.

GAIUS
We've been ordered to attend.

LUCILLA
How many are with us?

GRACCHUS
About half. But once the tyrant is
dead. All.
86.

A beat.

GRACCHUS (cont’d)
I want to meet him.

LUCILLA
I'll arrange it.

GAIUS
And what of the Emperor?

A beat.

LUCILLA
He has withdrawn. He's not eating.
He doesn't go out. He won't even
see me... I don't know what
tempests rage within him but...

GRACCHUS
We should fear for the blackest
storm.

LUCILLA
Yes.

A beat.

GAIUS
One question... who is to be the
actual Regicide?

A beat. She glances at him.

The drums continue...


EXT. COLOSSEUM - ARENA - DAY

Maximus defeats his opponent. He stands over him. He does
not kill him.

He tosses his sword down and walks away. The crowd goes
crazy, roaring their approval of Maximus.

Senator Falco, sits in the stands and watches with some
alarm. He glances around as the crowd exalts Maximus. He is
becoming a hero to the people.

The drums continue...
87.


INT. COLOSSEUM - HOLDING CELLS - DAY

Maximus returns to the holding cells. Vibius and Juba are
waiting.

VIBIUS
You didn't kill him.

MAXIMUS
I will not kill another warrior.
There is no honor to it.

Maximus goes. Vibius thinks about it, listening to the
adulation of the crowd.

The drums continue...


INT./ EXT. SLAVE WAGON - ROMAN STREETS - DAY

Maximus and the other gladiators are in a slave cart on the
way from the arena. A gang of children run alongside the
cart, cheering and chanting:

KIDS
Maximus the Merciful! Maximus the
Merciful!

The drums continue...


INT. PROXIMO'S COMPOUND - CELL - NIGHT

Maximus and Juba are with Lucilla and Gracchus. Lucilla is
writing on a piece of parchment.

MAXIMUS
Tell him we will enter Rome on the
first day of Commodus' festival.

LUCILLA
And they will march on Rome for
you?

MAXIMUS
Yes. But this letter must go to
the lieutenant named Titus, no one
else.
88.

LUCILLA
Captain Marcellus will take it.
And his City Guard will by with you
when you get to Rome. Is that
enough to face the Praetorian
Guard?

MAXIMUS
(looks to her)
The Felix Regiment will never be
defeated.

A beat.

GRACCHUS
I only have one question for you,
General... Why?

A beat.

GRACCHUS (cont’d)
You will lead an army of your
brothers on Rome. Many will die.
Why?

MAXIMUS
I want Commodus dead.

GRACCHUS
That's not the reason. Tell me the
truth.

A beat.

MAXIMUS
Because one night an old man
whispered to me about a dream. I
will die for that dream.

A long beat.

GRACCHUS
I knew the old man well. And I
loved him very much. In our youth
we would spend hours building that
dream together. After he went to
the wars and lost his way... I was
very cruel. I tormented him to
remember that dream we spoke of.

MAXIMUS
He did.
89.

GRACCHUS
You can have no idea how much that
means to me.

A beat.

GRACCHUS (cont’d)
Any man who will die for a
whispered dream deserves my
respect. I honor you, General.

The drums continue...
Genres: ["Historical Drama","Action","Thriller"]

Summary Maximus grapples with his conscience and gains popular support. Lucilla and senators plot against Commodus. Maximus prepares to enter Rome with an army.
Strengths
  • Emotional depth
  • Intriguing plot development
  • Strong character interactions
Weaknesses
  • Some dialogue may be overly expository

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene effectively blends action, emotion, and intrigue, providing depth to the characters and advancing the plot significantly.


Story Content

Concept: 9

The concept of Maximus's internal struggle, his desire for vengeance, and his willingness to sacrifice for a dream are compelling and well-developed.

Plot: 8

The plot progresses significantly in this scene, setting up key events and conflicts that will drive the story forward.

Originality: 9

The scene offers a fresh perspective on the historical setting of ancient Rome, exploring the personal motivations and moral dilemmas of the characters in a nuanced way. The authenticity of the dialogue and actions adds to the originality.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters, especially Maximus, Lucilla, and Gracchus, are well-defined and their interactions reveal depth and complexity.

Character Changes: 8

Maximus undergoes subtle changes in this scene, revealing more about his internal struggles and motivations.

Internal Goal: 9

Maximus' internal goal in this scene is to come to terms with his past and his role as a warrior. He reflects on his actions and the impact they have had on others, particularly the young boy Lucius.

External Goal: 8

Maximus' external goal is to plan a rebellion against Emperor Commodus with the help of Lucilla, Gracchus, and others. He aims to overthrow the tyrant and restore honor to Rome.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

There is a high level of conflict in the scene, both internal and external, as characters grapple with their motivations and the looming threat of Commodus.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with conflicting loyalties, moral dilemmas, and the looming threat of Emperor Commodus. The uncertainty of the characters' fates adds to the tension.

High Stakes: 8

The stakes are high in this scene, as the characters are plotting to overthrow an emperor and Maximus is facing the consequences of his actions.

Story Forward: 9

The scene moves the story forward by setting up key plot points and character dynamics that will drive future events.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the shifting alliances, moral dilemmas, and unexpected revelations that challenge the characters' beliefs and motivations.

Philosophical Conflict: 8

The philosophical conflict in this scene revolves around the themes of honor, loyalty, and sacrifice. Maximus grapples with the morality of killing and the value of dreams and ideals.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The emotional impact of the scene is significant, particularly in Maximus's interactions with Lucius and his reflections on his past.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is impactful, revealing character motivations and building tension in the scene.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its emotional depth, character dynamics, and the unfolding political intrigue. The audience is drawn into Maximus' internal struggles and the larger plot to overthrow the tyrant.

Pacing: 9

The pacing of the scene effectively builds tension and suspense, alternating between introspective moments and political scheming. The rhythm of the dialogue enhances the emotional impact of the interactions.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting adheres to the expected format for a historical drama, with clear scene descriptions and character interactions. The transitions between locations are smooth and seamless.

Structure: 9

The scene follows a structured format that effectively builds tension and advances the plot. The pacing and rhythm contribute to the scene's effectiveness.


Critique
  • The scene effectively establishes Maximus' internal conflict and emotional depth through his interaction with Lucius and Lucilla. The dialogue between Maximus and Lucius is poignant and reveals Maximus' inner turmoil and sense of loss.
  • The transition between different locations and characters is smooth and helps to build tension and momentum towards the upcoming events in the story.
  • The scene effectively sets up the conspiracy plot involving Lucilla, Senators Gracchus and Gaius, and Captain Marcellus, adding layers of intrigue and political maneuvering to the narrative.
  • The use of drums as a recurring motif throughout the scene adds a sense of urgency and impending action, enhancing the dramatic atmosphere.
  • The interaction between Maximus, Lucilla, and Gracchus provides insight into Maximus' motivations and the complex web of relationships and loyalties at play in the story.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more visual descriptions to enhance the setting and atmosphere of the scene, such as detailing the surroundings in the holding cells or the reactions of the characters.
  • Explore deeper into Maximus' emotional journey and internal conflict, allowing the audience to connect more with his character and motivations.
  • Ensure a balance between dialogue, action, and visual elements to keep the scene engaging and dynamic.
  • Consider incorporating more sensory details to immerse the audience in the scene, such as sounds, smells, and physical sensations.
  • Continue to build tension and suspense leading up to the climax of the conspiracy plot and Maximus' plan to confront Commodus.



Scene 29 -  Triumph and Defiance in the Arena
EXT. COLOSSEUM - ARENA - DAY

Vibius defeats an opponent -- he stands over him. He looks
around at the crowd. Then he tosses down his sword and walks
off.

The crowd goes mad with pleasure. Vibius eats it up, raising
his arms and soaking up the applause.

Maximus watches from the holding cells. He smiles.

The drums continue...


EXT. STREET - NIGHT

Proximo supervises as a huge banner is unfurled. It covers
the side of a tall building.

It shows a dramatic painting of Maximus.

Proximo supervises happily as torches and braziers are lit to
illuminate the mammoth banner.

The drums continue...


EXT. COLOSSEUM - ARENA - DAY

The ending of a group fight -- Proximo's gladiators
triumphant.

The crowd waits for the delicious act of defiance. We note
many placard and banners honoring "MAXIMUS THE MERCIFUL."

Maximus, Vibius, Juba and a few other gladiators toss down
their weapons and walk off, leaving their opponents alive.
90.

The crowd roars. They have completely embraced Maximus and
his fellow gladiators.

Gracchus, in the stands, laughs.

The drums finally conclude.


INT. PALACE - LUCILLA'S CHAMBER - DAY

Lucilla is with her HANDMAIDEN. They sit before a large
mirror, the Handmaiden perfecting Lucilla's makeup for the
day.

One of Commodus' Centurion Body Guards enters, bows.

CENTURION
Madame, the Emperor would like to
see you.

Lucilla quickly glances to her Handmaiden in the mirror and
then braces herself, stands, and quickly leaves with the
Centurion.


INT. PALACE - HALLWAY - DAY

Lucilla strides quickly, nervously, down the long corridor to
Commodus' chambers. She enters...


INT. PALACE - COMMODUS' BEDROOM - DAY

Commodus is wrapped in a sheet, gazing out a window.

LUCILLA
Caesar...

He turns. She stops.

He looks as if he has not slept for days. If a word could
now sum up his clouded face it is this: tormented.

She goes to him, embraces him. He holds her tightly.

COMMODUS
I am sorry to have kept you away...
I needed this time to think...

LUCILLA
Of course...

He moves away from her, slowly moving around the room.
91.

COMMODUS
I limited my world to these four
walls so as to let my mind free...
again and again my mind settles on
but one question... What kind of
world are we making when the people
of Rome prefer a slave in the arena
to their father?

A beat. Commodus' strange philosophical bent is unnerving
Lucilla.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
It is my responsibility to make the
world as it should be. How is it I
have made this world?

LUCILLA
Brother, do not be influenced by
the mob. They are a great,
faceless beast --

COMMODUS
They are not "the mob," Lucilla,
they are the people. They are my
children and all I want to do is
love them.

A beat. He stands before a bust of Marcus Aurelius. He
touches it.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
Our father loved Maximus... and I
love him still... yet he defies me,
he tasks me in front of my
children. And they love him for it.
Just as Marcus loved him for it.
Tell me why, Lucilla.

LUCILLA
They see themselves in him. They
throw in their own sad dreams
alongside his. They think he
fights for them.

COMMODUS
And what do I do but fight for
them?! I give them games to please
them. I strangle dissent to give
them peace. I empower the
Praetorians to give them order.
What more can I do?!
92.

A beat.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
Say I should fight him, in the
arena. Let my children see who the
Gods truly favor.

LUCILLA
And what if he should win?

A beat.

Commodus continues to slowly move around the room.

COMMODUS
A God is more powerful than a
man...

This odd statement hangs in the air for a moment. Then:

LUCILLA
Caesar, you let this unduly worry
you. At best he is a passing fancy
-- he is a name, an image on a
banner, ephemeral -- he will be
forgotten as the next fancy appears
--

COMMODUS
But I need to know -- why do they
love him?

LUCILLA
Mercy.

He stops. Looks at her.

LUCILLA (cont’d)
He will not kill in the arena. He
is merciful. As they all wish they
were in their own hearts.

Something in her words has struck a chord in him.

COMMODUS
And for that moment in the arena
they are merciful too. For a
moment... they are Gods. Offering
life.

He looks at her.
93.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
But who can be more merciful than
the Emperor of Rome?
Genres: ["Historical Drama","Action","Political"]

Summary In the Colosseum, Vibius triumphs, Maximus witnesses with pride, and gladiators defy tradition. Gracchus revels in their defiance, while Commodus grapples with Maximus's popularity. Lucilla suggests Maximus represents mercy, leaving Commodus pondering his options.
Strengths
  • Rich character development
  • Emotional depth
  • Philosophical exploration
Weaknesses
  • Some dialogue may be overly expository

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene is rich in emotional depth, tension, and philosophical exploration, setting up a pivotal moment in the story.


Story Content

Concept: 9

The concept of power, mercy, and the inner conflict of the Emperor are explored in a compelling and thought-provoking manner.

Plot: 8

The plot advances as Commodus grapples with his feelings towards Maximus and his own rule, setting the stage for a dramatic confrontation.

Originality: 9

The scene offers a fresh take on the historical setting by exploring complex moral and political themes through the characters' actions and dialogue. The authenticity of the characters' emotions and motivations adds to the originality.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters, especially Commodus and Lucilla, are well-developed and their internal struggles add depth to the scene.

Character Changes: 8

Commodus undergoes a subtle shift in his perspective, revealing a deeper layer to his character.

Internal Goal: 8

Maximus' internal goal in this scene is to maintain his sense of honor and mercy in the face of Commodus' tyranny. He wants to uphold his values and beliefs despite the challenges he faces.

External Goal: 7

Maximus' external goal is to navigate the dangerous political landscape and survive the threats posed by Commodus and his allies.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

There is a palpable tension and conflict in the scene, both internal and external, driving the narrative forward.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with conflicting values and motivations driving the conflict between Maximus and Commodus. The audience is kept on edge by the uncertainty of the characters' actions and decisions.

High Stakes: 9

The stakes are high as Commodus contemplates his next move and Maximus prepares for a confrontation.

Story Forward: 9

The scene significantly moves the story forward, setting up key conflicts and resolutions.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the shifting power dynamics, moral ambiguity, and unexpected revelations about the characters' motivations and beliefs.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

The philosophical conflict in this scene revolves around the themes of power, mercy, and the nature of leadership. Commodus questions his own rule and the loyalty of the people, while Maximus embodies a more noble and merciful approach to leadership.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The emotional impact is high, as the characters grapple with complex emotions and moral dilemmas.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is impactful, revealing the inner thoughts and conflicts of the characters effectively.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of the intense emotional conflict, moral dilemmas, and power struggles between the characters. The dialogue and character interactions draw the audience in and create suspense.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene builds tension and emotional intensity, allowing for moments of reflection and character development. The rhythm of the dialogue enhances the effectiveness of the confrontations.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The formatting adheres to the expected format for a screenplay, with clear scene descriptions, character actions, and dialogue cues.

Structure: 8

The scene follows a traditional structure for a dramatic confrontation, with escalating tension and emotional stakes. The pacing and rhythm contribute to the effectiveness of the dialogue and character development.


Critique
  • The scene lacks a clear focus and direction, with multiple themes and conflicts introduced but not fully explored or resolved.
  • The dialogue between Lucilla and Commodus feels forced and unnatural, lacking depth and emotional resonance.
  • Commodus' philosophical musings come across as contrived and do not effectively convey his inner turmoil or motivations.
  • The pacing of the scene is slow and meandering, with little tension or suspense to engage the audience.
  • The visual descriptions are sparse and fail to create a vivid and immersive setting for the scene.
Suggestions
  • Focus on developing a central conflict or theme that drives the scene and engages the audience.
  • Revise the dialogue between Lucilla and Commodus to make it more authentic, emotional, and impactful.
  • Explore Commodus' inner conflict and motivations in more depth to create a more compelling and nuanced character.
  • Increase the tension and stakes in the scene to create a sense of urgency and keep the audience invested.
  • Enhance the visual descriptions to create a more vivid and immersive setting that enhances the overall atmosphere of the scene.



Scene 30 -  Maximus Defies Commodus
EXT. COLOSSEUM - ARENA - DAY

Maximus is fighting a thick GIANT of a man.

A few quick blows and the Giant falls -- like a mighty tree
he crashes to the sand.

The arena cheers their hero. Maximus stands over the beaten
Giant. The crowd waits for the famous act.

Maximus salutes the Giant and tosses down his sword, refusing
to kill. He walks away.

The arena explodes in cheers -- a chant of "Maximus the
Merciful" grows to deafening proportions.

Suddenly the arena is filled with Praetorians -- they block
Maximus' exit from the arena -- the crowd boos -- horrified --

The Praetorians surround Maximus. He is unarmed, but coils
for the inevitable battle.

Then the Praetorians part...

And Commodus walks through them. He carries something
wrapped in a rich cloth. Maximus glares at him. The
Praetorians move back and the crowd watches eagerly. The
Emperor and the Gladiator, at last.

Maximus and Commodus stare at each other. The crowd cannot
hear what is said, but strain to observe this incredible
confrontation.

COMMODUS
Brother... we've taken a sad path
since we were children at Capri,
have we not?

Maximus doesn't answer.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
For my own part... I am sorry it
came to this. And to you alone of
all men, I acknowledge my errors.
And my regret. I shall live with
my sin for all my days.
94.

MAXIMUS
As will I, Commodus. As will I.

Commodus unwraps the cloth bundle. Inside is a small wooden
sword. He holds it up so the crowd can see.

A collective gasp. The wooden sword, prized by all
gladiators above all else. Freedom.

COMMODUS
As the first act of my contrition I
offer you the wooden sword of
freedom.

He holds out the wooden sword. A beat.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
Take it, brother. Stand at my side
as a free man worthy of your
ancestors.

MAXIMUS
I only have ancestors because of
you, brother. You killed
everything that ever lived
alongside me.

A beat.

COMMODUS
Take it, Maximus. Let us heal that
fatal wound together.

MAXIMUS
This is the new home you cursed me
to. And I am safer here from your
treachery than I could ever be
outside.

COMMODUS
Will you always mistrust me?

MAXIMUS
Why don't you ask your father that?

Commodus visibly flinches at that, but still holds the wooden
sword out. The crowd is breathless.

MAXIMUS (cont’d)
I have more power as a slave in the
arena than I could ever have as a
free man.
(MORE)
95.
MAXIMUS(cont'd)
As the Colosseum goes, the people
go. As the people go, the Empire
goes.

COMMODUS
(tense)
You think this is power? I could
show you power, slave --

MAXIMUS
No, Caesar... I will show you.

With that, Maximus does the unimaginable. He simply turns
his back on the Emperor and walks away.

And the crowd goes mad. They cheer the defiant gladiator,
their champion.

And, equally, they deride the Emperor. They mock him by
holding out food and trash like Commodus is holding out the
wooden sword. They laugh and jeer.

Commodus glances around at his children, lost.

Then he turns to the Imperial Box. He sees Lucilla slipping
out the back of the box. He watches her go.

And the crowd continues to jeer.
Genres: ["Drama","Action","Historical"]

Summary In the Colosseum arena, Maximus refuses to kill the Giant, infuriating Commodus. Commodus offers Maximus freedom with a wooden sword, but Maximus rejects it, asserting his status as a slave. The crowd cheers Maximus, mocking Commodus.
Strengths
  • Tension-filled confrontation
  • Emotional depth
  • Powerful character dynamics
Weaknesses
  • Some dialogue could be more nuanced

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene is highly engaging, filled with tension, emotional depth, and a significant turning point in the story. The confrontation between Maximus and Commodus is powerful and well-executed.


Story Content

Concept: 9

The concept of the scene, focusing on the power dynamics between Maximus and Commodus in the Colosseum, is compelling and well-developed.

Plot: 9

The plot of the scene is crucial as it marks a significant moment in the conflict between Maximus and Commodus, setting the stage for further developments in the story.

Originality: 8

The scene offers a fresh take on the classic confrontation between a gladiator and an Emperor, exploring themes of power, betrayal, and redemption in a unique and compelling way. The characters' actions and dialogue feel authentic and resonate with the audience.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters of Maximus and Commodus are well-defined and their interactions in this scene are impactful, showcasing their conflicting motivations and emotions.

Character Changes: 8

Maximus demonstrates his refusal to be controlled by Commodus and asserts his power as a gladiator, showcasing a significant change in his character.

Internal Goal: 9

Maximus's internal goal in this scene is to maintain his integrity and refuse to be manipulated by Commodus, despite the offer of freedom. This reflects his deeper desire for justice, revenge, and a sense of honor.

External Goal: 8

Maximus's external goal is to navigate the dangerous situation in the arena and assert his defiance against Commodus. This reflects the immediate challenge of standing up to the Emperor and maintaining his dignity.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict between Maximus and Commodus reaches a peak in this scene, with high stakes and emotional intensity driving the confrontation.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with Maximus facing off against Commodus in a battle of wills, power, and integrity. The audience is unsure of how the conflict will be resolved, adding to the suspense and drama.

High Stakes: 9

The stakes are high in this scene, with the confrontation between Maximus and Commodus potentially shaping the future of the characters and the Empire.

Story Forward: 9

The scene moves the story forward by escalating the conflict between Maximus and Commodus, setting the stage for further developments in the plot.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the unexpected turn of events, the defiance of the protagonist, and the shifting power dynamics between Maximus and Commodus. The audience is kept on edge, unsure of how the confrontation will unfold.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

The philosophical conflict in this scene revolves around power, betrayal, and the true meaning of freedom. Maximus and Commodus represent opposing values of honor and manipulation, leading to a confrontation that challenges their beliefs and values.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene has a high emotional impact, with moments of regret, defiance, and tension resonating with the audience.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue in the scene is tense and confrontational, effectively conveying the emotions and power dynamics between the characters.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its high stakes, emotional conflict, and dramatic tension. The audience is drawn into the power dynamics between Maximus and Commodus, rooting for the protagonist's defiance and redemption.

Pacing: 9

The pacing of the scene is well-executed, with a gradual build-up of tension, emotional beats, and dramatic reveals that keep the audience engaged and invested in the outcome of the confrontation.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of the scene effectively conveys the action, dialogue, and emotional beats, creating a visually engaging and immersive experience for the reader.

Structure: 9

The scene follows a well-paced structure that builds tension, reveals character motivations, and leads to a dramatic confrontation between Maximus and Commodus. The formatting enhances the visual impact of the arena setting and the emotional intensity of the dialogue.


Critique
  • The scene effectively builds tension and conflict between Maximus and Commodus, creating a dramatic confrontation.
  • The dialogue between Maximus and Commodus is intense and reveals the deep-seated animosity between the characters.
  • The refusal of Maximus to kill the Giant and his subsequent defiance towards Commodus adds depth to his character and showcases his moral integrity.
  • The interaction between Maximus and the crowd, as well as their reactions, effectively convey the shifting dynamics of power and loyalty.
  • The scene effectively sets up the ongoing power struggle between Maximus and Commodus, highlighting their conflicting values and motivations.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more physical action or tension to the scene to enhance the visual impact and engage the audience.
  • Explore the emotional turmoil of Commodus further to deepen his character and provide more insight into his motivations.
  • Provide more context or backstory to strengthen the connection between Maximus and Commodus, adding layers to their complex relationship.
  • Consider incorporating more sensory details to immerse the audience in the atmosphere of the Colosseum and enhance the dramatic tension.
  • Ensure that the resolution of the scene aligns with the overall narrative arc and sets up future conflicts or developments in a compelling way.



Scene 31 -  Conspiracy and Reflection
EXT. STREET THEATER - NIGHT

The crowd laughs riotously as Roman Actors perform a
typically ribald comedy in a secluded street:

An outrageously dressed version of Maximus is parading around
on an outrageously dressed version of Commodus, riding him
like a donkey and slapping his rear with a wooden sword. The
"Commodus" actor mews and brays and wails like an infant.

Captain Marcellus of the City Guard gallops past them, on his
way out of Rome.


EXT. PROXIMO'S COMPOUND - COURTYARD - DAY

Maximus stands with Juba and Vibius. He draws a circle in
the sand with a stick. He draws a line to the circle.

MAXIMUS
The Felix Regiment will come from
here. We'll face the body of the
Praetorians outside -- here.
(MORE)
96.
MAXIMUS(cont'd)
Once inside, my archers will take
up position to counter opposition
inside the Colosseum. I'll enter
and join you -- we'll attack here --

Maximus draws a line to the Imperial Box.

MAXIMUS (cont’d)
-- a covert assault from within.

VIBIUS
We'll be killed.

MAXIMUS
Probably.

A beat.

MAXIMUS (cont’d)
But if we aren't... think of the
glory. Do you remember glory,
Gladiator?

JUBA
And if we die that day -- we die
free men worthy of our ancestors.

VIBIUS
You didn't know my ancestors. A
rotten bunch.

Maximus points to the huge statue of Mars.

MAXIMUS
Then be worthy of him. The old
Titan who would rather die bravely
in a just battle than slink off to
grow old and fat.

JUBA
And impotent.

A beat. Vibius thinks about it.

VIBIUS
If I die, I want a hundred whores
at my funeral.


INT. PALACE - LUCILLA'S CHAMBERS - EVENING

Commodus sweeps in. Thinks Lucilla is standing there. The
woman turns, it is Lucilla's Handmaiden.
97.

COMMODUS
Where is my sister?

HANDMAIDEN
She's out, sir...

COMMODUS
Where?

HANDMAIDEN
I... don't know, Caesar.

Commodus looks at her for a moment.

And then he slowly walks right to her. His face an inch away
from hers.

COMMODUS
Where is my sister?


INT. PROXIMO'S COMPOUND - PROXIMO'S CHAMBER - NIGHT

Proximo sits, considering Maximus.

MAXIMUS
Was it Centurion...? General...?

PROXIMO
Captain.

A beat.

PROXIMO (cont’d)
How did you know?

MAXIMUS
A soldier knows a soldier.

A beat.

PROXIMO
All that was a long time ago. Too
much wine and too many women. And
too much money.

MAXIMUS
No --

PROXIMO
This is who I am...
(he pats his ample belly)
You see?
(MORE)
98.
PROXIMO(cont'd)
There was a time I would stand
against ten men and never give an
inch, spitting into the jaws of
Hades all the while. There was a
time my heart swelled to strap on
the armor of Rome. But now...

Something flashes across Proximo's eyes, something like
tragedy.

PROXIMO (cont’d)
Now I am just an entertainer.

A pause.

MAXIMUS
You said something to me once. You
said in this life, we all die. All
we can choose is how we die. And
how we are remembered. Do you
recall those words?

PROXIMO
Yes.

MAXIMUS
Then be remembered proudly. This
is your time, Proximo. Stand at my
side and be what you were. What
you truly are. One last time.

A beat.

Proximo suddenly begins to weep rather histrionically --
Maximus is a bit taken aback -- Proximo dramatically flicks
tears from his eyes -- and then can't keep the show up -- he
bursts into laughter.

Maximus stares at him.

PROXIMO
(laughing)
You might have spared yourself the
speech, General. The lady Lucilla
bought all my gladiators two hours
ago!

MAXIMUS
You pox-ridden bastard -- !

PROXIMO
I am the richest trainer in the
Empire!
(MORE)
99.
PROXIMO(cont'd)
And I will let my gladiators do
anything you like! Conspire away,
General!

Maximus can only laugh as well.

PROXIMO (cont’d)
But I tell you -- if you survive
this madness I want you to go into
business with me. I'll give you a
quarter of my holdings.

MAXIMUS
(standing)
A quarter?!

PROXIMO
A third. And not a hair more. And
you'll have to start in the
provinces! Cleaning up the lion
shit!

MAXIMUS
You know, if you were half so awful
as you pretend, you'd be a
terrifying man.

Maximus shakes his head, smiling, and goes.

Proximo sits for a moment. Then he rises and goes to a heavy
chest. He looks at the chest for a moment and then opens it.

Inside is his old Lorica Segmentata. He gazes at his armor,
considering what he once was. And what he now is.
Genres: ["Historical Drama","Action","Thriller"]

Summary The scene begins with a ribald comedy in the street theater, then shifts to Proximo's compound where Maximus, Juba, and Vibius plan to attack the Colosseum. At the palace, Commodus confronts Lucilla's handmaiden. Maximus asks Proximo to join the fight, and Proximo agrees, reflecting on his past. The scene ends with Maximus leaving and Proximo gazing at his old armor.
Strengths
  • Strong character development
  • Engaging plot progression
  • Blend of tones and themes
Weaknesses
  • Some dialogue could be more concise
  • Street theater scene may feel out of place for some viewers

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene is engaging, with a mix of serious and humorous tones, strong character development, and significant plot progression.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of the gladiators planning a rebellion against Commodus is intriguing and sets up a high-stakes conflict.

Plot: 8

The plot advances significantly with the gladiators' plan to confront Commodus and the emotional journey of Proximo.

Originality: 9

The scene offers a fresh take on the historical drama genre by exploring the complexities of honor, loyalty, and legacy in ancient Rome. The characters' actions and dialogue feel authentic and engaging, adding originality to the story.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters, especially Maximus and Proximo, undergo significant development in this scene, adding depth and complexity to the story.

Character Changes: 9

Both Maximus and Proximo undergo significant changes in this scene, moving towards their ultimate goals and motivations.

Internal Goal: 9

Maximus's internal goal is to reclaim his honor and legacy by leading a covert assault against the Praetorians and Commodus. This reflects his deeper desire for redemption and justice.

External Goal: 8

Maximus's external goal is to defeat the Praetorians and overthrow Commodus to restore order and justice in Rome. This reflects the immediate circumstances and challenges he's facing in the story.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict between the gladiators and Commodus, as well as the internal struggles of the characters, create tension and drive the story forward.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with conflicting goals, motivations, and values between the characters. The audience is left unsure of how the conflicts will be resolved, adding suspense and drama to the story.

High Stakes: 9

The stakes are high as the gladiators plan to confront Commodus and fight for their freedom, risking their lives in the process.

Story Forward: 9

The scene moves the story forward by setting up the gladiators' rebellion and the impending confrontation with Commodus.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the unexpected twists in the characters' actions and dialogue. The shifting dynamics between Maximus, Proximo, and other characters add layers of complexity and intrigue to the story.

Philosophical Conflict: 8

The philosophical conflict is evident in the characters' beliefs about honor, glory, and legacy. Maximus values dying bravely in battle for a just cause, while Proximo struggles with his past as a soldier and his current role as an entertainer.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 8

The emotional impact is significant, especially in Proximo's journey and the gladiators' determination to fight for their freedom.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue is well-crafted, blending serious discussions with moments of humor and reflection.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its dynamic characters, intense conflicts, and emotional depth. The dialogue is sharp, the pacing is tight, and the stakes are high, keeping the audience invested in the story.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene is effective in building tension, revealing character motivations, and advancing the plot. The rhythm of the dialogue and action sequences keeps the audience engaged and invested in the story.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The formatting of the scene adheres to the expected format for a screenplay, with proper scene headings, character names, and dialogue formatting. It is easy to follow and visually engaging for the reader.

Structure: 8

The structure of the scene follows the expected format for a historical drama, with clear transitions between locations and well-paced dialogue. It effectively builds tension and sets up the conflict for the upcoming events.


Critique
  • The scene transitions abruptly from a comedic street theater to a serious discussion of a strategic plan, which may confuse the audience and disrupt the flow of the story.
  • The dialogue between Maximus, Juba, and Vibius feels forced and lacks depth, making it difficult for the audience to connect with the characters and their motivations.
  • The sudden shift in tone from a lighthearted moment to a serious conversation about a dangerous plan is jarring and could benefit from a smoother transition.
  • The emotional depth of the characters, especially Proximo, is not fully explored in this scene, missing an opportunity to add layers to the story and engage the audience on a deeper level.
  • The scene lacks visual elements that could enhance the storytelling and create a more immersive experience for the audience.
Suggestions
  • Consider revising the scene to create a more seamless transition between the comedic opening and the serious discussion, maintaining a consistent tone throughout.
  • Develop the dialogue between Maximus, Juba, and Vibius to reveal more about their characters, motivations, and relationships, adding depth and complexity to the scene.
  • Introduce visual cues or elements that enhance the storytelling, such as flashbacks, symbolic imagery, or dynamic camera angles, to engage the audience visually and emotionally.
  • Explore the emotional journey of Proximo more deeply, delving into his past, regrets, and desires to create a more compelling and relatable character.
  • Ensure that the scene serves a clear purpose in advancing the plot, developing the characters, or building tension, to keep the audience engaged and invested in the story.



Scene 32 -  Whispers in the Dark
INT. PROXIMO'S COMPOUND - CELL - NIGHT

Maximus enters. Lucilla is waiting, extremely tense.

MAXIMUS
Lucilla --

LUCILLA
Don't even say it. I know it's
dangerous -- but I had to see you.
Captain Marcellus has gone to the
army with your message as you
instructed.

MAXIMUS
Good.
100.

LUCILLA
He says the City Guard will be
ready at the south road at noon.
They can only wait for an hour so --

MAXIMUS
You've told me this already.

LUCILLA
Did I? All right then. So
everything is prepared. The Senate
will be in attendance and you have
your gladiators -- the usual cohort
of Praetorians will be inside the
arena --

MAXIMUS
Lucilla... why are you here?

A pause.

LUCILLA
Tell me honestly... please... do
you think it will work?

A beat.

MAXIMUS
No.

LUCILLA
Do you think we'll all die?

MAXIMUS
Yes.

She leans against a wall.

A pause.

LUCILLA
Will you swear something to me?

MAXIMUS
Yes.

LUCILLA
Will you swear it on the memory of
your son?

A long beat.
101.

MAXIMUS
Yes.

LUCILLA
By all that you have ever loved...
swear that if you survive you will
take my son out of Rome. Swear
that you will go far away and never
return.

He steps to her.

MAXIMUS
(deeply)
I will.

A beat.

MAXIMUS (cont’d)
And if I should not survive...
swear to me that you will honor my
family in your prayers always.

LUCILLA
I will.

A long, difficult beat. She fights back tears.

LUCILLA (cont’d)
Had I not been the daughter of
Rome...

He puts a gentle finger to her lips.

MAXIMUS
Shhh... my heart breaks enough.

He holds her closely, tenderly.
Genres: ["Drama"]

Summary Maximus and Lucilla share an intimate conversation amidst the dangers of their plan. Lucilla's fears give way to hope as Maximus reassures her, making promises for a future they can only dream of.
Strengths
  • Emotional depth
  • Character development
  • Tension building
Weaknesses
  • Repetitive dialogue

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene is highly impactful, drawing the audience into the emotional turmoil and vulnerability of the characters. The tension and sincerity portrayed make it a standout moment in the screenplay.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of characters exchanging oaths and emotions in the face of danger is executed effectively, adding depth to their relationship and setting the stage for future developments.

Plot: 8

The plot advances as Maximus and Lucilla solidify their plans and emotions, setting the stage for the impending conflict and resolution. The scene adds layers to the overall narrative.

Originality: 9

The scene offers a fresh take on the classic theme of sacrifice and loyalty. The characters' actions and dialogue feel authentic and emotionally resonant.


Character Development

Characters: 9

Maximus and Lucilla's characters are fleshed out through their intimate conversation, showcasing their vulnerabilities, fears, and determination. The scene deepens the audience's connection to the characters.

Character Changes: 8

Both Maximus and Lucilla undergo emotional changes in the scene, solidifying their bond and commitment to each other. The oaths exchanged signify a deepening of their relationship and a shift in their motivations.

Internal Goal: 9

The protagonist's internal goal is to protect his loved ones and honor his family's memory. This reflects his deeper need for redemption and his fear of failing those he cares about.

External Goal: 8

The protagonist's external goal is to plan and execute a dangerous rebellion against the oppressive regime. This reflects the immediate circumstances of political unrest and the challenges of survival.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 7

The conflict is internal, as Maximus and Lucilla grapple with their emotions, fears, and the dangerous plan they are embarking on. The tension is palpable as they navigate their feelings amidst the impending danger.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with the characters facing internal and external challenges that add to the drama.

High Stakes: 8

The stakes are high as Maximus and Lucilla plan to confront Commodus, risking their lives and the safety of their loved ones. The scene heightens the tension and danger of their mission.

Story Forward: 7

The scene moves the story forward by solidifying the characters' plans and emotions, setting the stage for the impending conflict and resolution. It deepens the audience's understanding of the characters' motivations and relationships.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable due to the characters' conflicting emotions and uncertain outcomes.

Philosophical Conflict: 8

The philosophical conflict is between loyalty to Rome and personal relationships. The protagonist must balance his duty to the empire with his desire to protect his loved ones.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The emotional impact of the scene is profound, drawing the audience into the vulnerability and sincerity of the characters. The heartfelt oaths and emotions exchanged create a poignant and memorable moment.

Dialogue: 9

The dialogue is poignant and heartfelt, capturing the emotional depth of the characters' interactions. The oaths and emotions exchanged add layers to the scene and enhance the character dynamics.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging due to its emotional intensity and high stakes. The audience is invested in the characters' fates.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by building tension and allowing for emotional moments to land.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The scene follows the expected formatting for its genre, with proper scene headings and dialogue formatting.

Structure: 9

The scene follows the expected structure for its genre, with a clear setup, conflict, and resolution.


Critique
  • The scene lacks a sense of urgency and tension considering the high stakes involved in the plan to overthrow Commodus. The dialogue feels somewhat repetitive and could benefit from more dynamic exchanges between Maximus and Lucilla.
  • The emotional depth of the scene could be enhanced by delving deeper into the characters' fears, doubts, and motivations. Lucilla's inner turmoil and Maximus' conflicted feelings about the plan could be explored further to create a more compelling narrative.
  • The pacing of the scene could be improved by tightening the dialogue and focusing on the most impactful moments of the conversation between Maximus and Lucilla. This would help maintain the audience's engagement and build suspense leading up to the climax of the scene.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more subtext and layers to the dialogue to convey the characters' emotions and intentions subtly. This can create a more nuanced and engaging interaction between Maximus and Lucilla.
  • Introduce more conflict and obstacles within the scene to heighten the tension and drama. This could involve revealing unexpected challenges or disagreements between Maximus and Lucilla that they must overcome together.
  • Explore the possibility of incorporating visual elements or actions that enhance the emotional impact of the scene. This could include gestures, expressions, or movements that convey the characters' inner turmoil and the gravity of their situation.



Scene 33 -  Commodus Threatens Lucilla
INT. PALACE - LUCILLA'S CHAMBERS - NIGHT

Lucilla enters, deep in thought, still drained from her
meeting with Maximus.

She suddenly stops. Frozen.

Commodus is sitting across the chamber, Lucius at his knee.
An open scroll on Commodus' lap.

COMMODUS
Sister... join us. I've been
reading to dear Lucius.
102.

LUCIUS
I've been reading too.

COMMODUS
Yes, he's a very smart little boy.
He'll make a grand Emperor one day.

Lucilla has not moved.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
Join us, sister.

Lucilla goes to them, sits.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
We've been reading about the great
Julius and his adventures in Egypt.

LUCIUS
She killed herself with a snake!

COMMODUS
(to Lucius)
And just wait until you hear what
happened to some of our other
ancestors! If you're very good,
tomorrow night I'll tell you the
story of Emperor Claudius. He was
betrayed! By those closest to
him...
(he glances up to Lucilla)
... by his own blood... they
whispered in dark corners and went
out late at night and conspired and
conspired...

Lucilla looks as if she is going to be ill.

Lucius is busy scanning the scroll. Commodus gently strokes
his hair, his cold eyes never leaving Lucilla's.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
But the Emperor Claudius knew that
they were up to something dire. He
knew they were busy little bees.
And one night he sat down with one
of them and he looked at her and he
said: "Tell me what you have been
doing, busy little bee, or I shall
strike down those dearest to you.
(MORE)
103.
COMMODUS(cont'd)
You shall watch as I bathe in their
blood." And the bee knew he spoke
the truth, for the Emperor always
speaks the truth. And what do you
think happened then, Lucius?

LUCIUS
(still pouring over the
scrolls)
I don't know, Uncle.

COMMODUS
(glaring at Lucilla)

The bee told him everything. Lucilla's face is tortured.
Genres: ["Drama","Historical"]

Summary Lucilla enters deep in thought and is surprised to find Commodus and Lucius in her chambers. Commodus reads to Lucius about Julius Caesar's adventures in Egypt, and then tells a story about Emperor Claudius who discovered a conspiracy against him. Lucilla looks ill as Commodus implies that he knows about her own conspiracy, causing her to feel vulnerable and threatened.
Strengths
  • Tense atmosphere
  • Complex character dynamics
  • Sharp dialogue
Weaknesses
  • Limited physical action
  • Heavy exposition

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene effectively builds tension and establishes the complex relationship between the characters, especially Commodus and Lucilla. The dialogue is sharp and impactful, creating a sense of unease and foreboding.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of manipulation, power play, and psychological warfare is well-executed in this scene, adding depth to the characters and setting up future conflicts.

Plot: 7

The plot progresses as Commodus asserts his dominance over Lucilla, setting the stage for the power struggle and potential betrayal. The scene adds layers to the overarching narrative.

Originality: 8

The scene offers a fresh take on the theme of manipulation and power struggles within a family dynamic. The characters' actions and dialogue feel authentic and contribute to the scene's authenticity.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters, especially Commodus and Lucilla, are well-developed and their dynamics are intriguing. Commodus' manipulative nature and Lucilla's internal conflict are portrayed effectively.

Character Changes: 7

Lucilla experiences a shift in her perception of Commodus and her own role in the power dynamics, setting the stage for potential character growth and transformation.

Internal Goal: 8

Lucilla's internal goal in this scene is to maintain her composure and hide her fear and disgust towards Commodus. It reflects her deeper need for survival and protection of her son, Lucius.

External Goal: 7

Lucilla's external goal is to navigate the dangerous situation with Commodus without revealing her true feelings or intentions. It reflects the immediate challenge of dealing with a manipulative and threatening brother.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 8

The conflict between Commodus and Lucilla is palpable, creating a sense of tension and unease. The power struggle and manipulation add layers to the conflict.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with Commodus exerting control over Lucilla and Lucius, creating a sense of danger and uncertainty.

High Stakes: 7

The high stakes are evident as Commodus exerts his control over Lucilla, setting the stage for potential betrayals, power struggles, and conflicts that could have far-reaching consequences.

Story Forward: 8

The scene moves the story forward by establishing key character dynamics, conflicts, and motivations. It sets the stage for future developments and conflicts.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the shifting power dynamics and the characters' hidden agendas.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

The philosophical conflict in this scene is the clash between truth and manipulation, power and vulnerability. Commodus uses fear and control to manipulate others, while Lucilla struggles to maintain her integrity and protect her son.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 8

The scene evokes a range of emotions, from fear to unease, as the characters navigate the power dynamics and manipulation. The emotional impact adds depth to the scene.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is sharp, impactful, and reveals the underlying tensions between the characters. It adds depth to the scene and enhances the character dynamics.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its intense dialogue, psychological depth, and the high stakes involved for the characters.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene effectively builds tension and suspense, keeping the audience engaged and invested in the characters' fates.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of the scene is clear and concise, following the expected format for a screenplay.

Structure: 9

The structure of the scene effectively builds tension and suspense, following the expected format for a dramatic confrontation.


Critique
  • The scene lacks a clear sense of direction or purpose, with Commodus' rambling monologue about Emperor Claudius feeling disconnected from the overall narrative.
  • The dialogue between Commodus and Lucius feels forced and unnatural, lacking depth or emotional resonance.
  • Lucilla's reaction to Commodus' story is not fully explored or developed, leaving her character's emotional state unclear to the audience.
  • The scene fails to build tension or create a sense of conflict, resulting in a lackluster and unengaging interaction between the characters.
  • Commodus' behavior and dialogue come across as overly theatrical and melodramatic, detracting from the authenticity of the scene.
Suggestions
  • Focus on developing a clear objective or conflict within the scene to drive the character interactions and dialogue.
  • Consider streamlining Commodus' monologue to make it more concise and impactful, focusing on key points that contribute to the overall story.
  • Enhance Lucilla's emotional response to Commodus' story to add depth and complexity to her character, providing insight into her internal struggles.
  • Work on creating a more natural and engaging conversation between the characters, with dialogue that feels authentic and meaningful.
  • Explore ways to increase tension and drama in the scene, building towards a more compelling and dynamic interaction between the characters.



Scene 34 -  The Raid on Proximo's Compound
INT. PROXIMO'S COMPOUND - PROXIMO'S CHAMBER - NIGHT

Proximo is asleep -- a sound outside wakes him -- the steady
clip-clop of horses on stone. A lot of horses.

He rises and goes to a window overlooking the street outside.

A stern Praetorian Guard cavalry unit is cantering into
position at his gates. Proximo grabs his clothes --


EXT. PROXIMO'S COMPOUND - NIGHT

With cool military precision the Praetorians take up position
at the gates before Proximo's compound, an unassailable line.
They quickly prepare their bows.

Meanwhile, another Praetorian unit has taken up position at
the other end of Proximo's compound -- sealing that entrance
as well.


EXT. PROXIMO'S COMPOUND - COURTYARD - NIGHT

Proximo is hurrying across his open courtyard when the first
flaming arrow arches into the compound -- it is followed by
hundreds more --

The Praetorians on either end of his compound keep up a
ceaseless hail of flaming arrows -- everything begins to burn
-- the caged gladiators are stirring now -- shouting --

Proximo races to his panicked guards --

PROXIMO
Release them! Release them all!
ARM THEM!
104.

The guards sprint to the cells -- unlocking the gladiators as
quickly as they can --

Not quick enough for many -- Praetorians are now pouring
pitch through the gutter that runs along the bottom of the
cells -- igniting it and incinerating all those trapped
inside --

The compound is soon a raging inferno --

Proximo releases Maximus and Juba --

PROXIMO (cont’d)
Come --

MAXIMUS
But --

PROXIMO
If you want to live -- follow me --

VIBIUS
(calling to them)
Go, Spaniard! We'll show these
Roman dogs how gladiators fight!

Proximo hauls Maximus and Juba off as Vibius and the other
gladiators arm themselves --


INT. TUNNELS - NIGHT

Proximo is leading Maximus and Juba quickly through a
decaying cramped tunnel.

PROXIMO
All the old gladiator schools have
tunnels to the Colosseum -- most
have long since collapsed --

JUBA
How did they know?

MAXIMUS
We were betrayed.

JUBA
(stops)
I'll stay here. In case they
follow.

Maximus stops as well.
105.

JUBA (cont’d)
Go! Bring us the army!

Maximus nods.

PROXIMO
Quickly --

He leads Maximus down the disintegrating catacomb of tunnels -
-


EXT. PROXIMO'S COMPOUND - NIGHT

Vibius hoped to die fighting -- he never got the chance.

It is not a battle, it is a slaughter.

The Praetorians ruthlessly shoot anyone even approaching the
gates -- all the walls are covered -- most of the gladiators
die in the hellish inferno -- the relentless rain of flaming
arrows continues --

Vibius coughs in the thick smoke and rages for someone to
fight -- Praetorian snipers cut him down -- he dies reaching
for the statue of Mars.


INT. COLOSSEUM - SUBTERRANEAN - NIGHT

Proximo and Maximus emerge deep in the bowels of the
Colosseum.

PROXIMO
(points)
Down that corridor is the butchery -
- the blood sloughs lead to the
Tiber. Gods watch over you.

MAXIMUS
You're not coming?

PROXIMO
They are killing my men!

He races back into the tunnel.

Maximus moves quickly down the corridor. He can finally
see...
106.


INT. COLOSSEUM - BUTCHERY - NIGHT

Grisly carcasses of every description hang from hooks. Two
bored butchers hack them up. The good bits are tossed into a
wagon to fed to the Colosseum animals. The waste and offal
are shoveled into a large sewer opening. A butcher
occasionally lifts a sluice-gate and a gush of water flows
into the sewer from above, washing down the blood and
carcasses.

Maximus crouches and creeps through the nightmare of hanging
carcasses and flies.

When the butchers are looking elsewhere, Maximus creeps to
the sewer opening and climbs in -- he immediately slides down
for a few yards in the slanting, slippery blood sluice -- out
of sight --

Then he thuds to a stop. He can go no further because the
remains of an animal carcass blocks his way. He tries to
slither past the carcass --

Finally, one of the butchers above lifts the sluice-gate and
a torrent of water flows down.

Maximus is washed down the hideous sewer.


INT. TUNNELS - NIGHT

Proximo and Juba are quickly marching back down the tunnel
toward the compound -- they are very close now -- the roar of
flame is heard -- the creak of falling timber -- and the
screams of burning men. They run.

They round a corner and see there is no way past the world of
flame ahead of them. The tunnel to the compound has
collapsed.

PROXIMO
Gods... they're killing them all.

Proximo leads them up a cramped stairway to...


EXT. STREET OUTSIDE PROXIMO'S COMPOUND - NIGHT

They emerge through a sewer entrance -- right into the arms
of the Praetorian Guard. Proximo and Juba are bound. Proximo
sees his compound burning. Sees the Praetorian archers
taking out any last survivors. Hears the screams.
107.


INT./ EXT. VARIOUS LOCATIONS - ARREST MONTAGE - NIGHT

A quick sequence of brutal arrests as Praetorian Guard units
round up many associated with the plot. And many that are
not.

GAIUS' BEDROOM: Gaius and his wife are yanked awake and
hauled out.

CHRISTIAN HOME: A congregation of Christians is chained
together, their secret altar smashed.

CAFE: Greek Scholars are hauled away from their scrolls.

STREET THEATER: Actors are dragged off in the midst of a
performance.

GRACCHUS' STEAM ROOM: Gracchus is enjoying grapes with his
handsome catamite. A unit of Praetorian bursts in. Gracchus
looks at them. Sighs.
Genres: ["Historical Drama","Action","Thriller"]

Summary During the night, Proximo awakes to find Praetorian Guards besieging his compound. He releases Maximus and Juba, and they escape through an ancient tunnel network. The Praetorians ruthlessly slaughter the remaining gladiators and burn the compound. Maximus navigates the Colosseum's gruesome butchery and slides down a bloody sewer sluice to reach the Tiber River. Proximo and Juba attempt to reach the compound but are met with a collapsed tunnel and flee, only to be captured by the Praetorians. A brutal montage of arrests associated with the plot is shown.
Strengths
  • Intense action sequences
  • Emotional depth
  • High stakes
  • Compelling plot developments
Weaknesses
  • Some characters' motivations may need further clarification
  • Dialogue could be more nuanced in places

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene is highly impactful, with a mix of intense action, emotional depth, and significant plot developments. The betrayal and bloodshed add layers of complexity and tension, making it a standout moment in the screenplay.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of betrayal, survival, and sacrifice is well-executed in this scene. The brutal actions of the Praetorian Guard, the characters' desperate attempts to escape, and the sense of impending danger all contribute to a compelling narrative.

Plot: 9

The plot advances significantly in this scene, with major betrayals, character decisions, and the escalation of conflict. The intense action and emotional turmoil drive the story forward and set the stage for future events.

Originality: 8

The scene offers a fresh take on the action genre by incorporating elements of historical drama and showcasing the brutality of gladiatorial combat. The characters' actions and dialogue feel authentic and contribute to the scene's authenticity.


Character Development

Characters: 8

The characters face difficult choices, betrayals, and moments of bravery in this scene. Their actions and reactions reveal their depth and complexity, adding layers to the narrative and setting up future character arcs.

Character Changes: 8

Several characters undergo significant changes in this scene, facing betrayals, making difficult decisions, and showing bravery in the face of danger. These changes set the stage for future character development and arcs.

Internal Goal: 8

Proximo's internal goal is to protect himself and the gladiators under his care from the Praetorian Guard's attack. This reflects his desire to survive and maintain his position of power.

External Goal: 9

Proximo's external goal is to escape the compound and survive the attack. This reflects the immediate challenge he faces in the form of the Praetorian Guard's assault.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict in the scene is intense and multi-layered, with betrayals, survival struggles, and power dynamics at play. The characters face overwhelming odds and must make difficult choices, heightening the tension and drama.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with the Praetorian Guard presenting a formidable challenge to Proximo and the gladiators. The audience is kept in suspense about the characters' survival.

High Stakes: 9

The stakes are incredibly high in this scene, with characters facing betrayal, violence, and the threat of death. The survival of the protagonists, the fate of Rome, and the power struggle between characters all contribute to the high stakes.

Story Forward: 9

The scene moves the story forward significantly, with major plot developments, betrayals, and character decisions shaping the narrative. The high stakes and intense action propel the story towards its climax.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the unexpected twists, character choices, and the brutal outcome of the conflict. The audience is kept guessing about the characters' fates.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

The philosophical conflict in this scene is between survival and loyalty. Proximo must balance his desire to survive with his loyalty to the gladiators under his care, leading to difficult decisions.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions of fear, anger, desperation, and sorrow as the characters face betrayal, violence, and loss. The high stakes and tragic events make it emotionally impactful and memorable.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue in the scene is impactful, conveying the characters' emotions, motivations, and conflicts effectively. It drives the plot forward and adds depth to the relationships between the characters.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its high stakes, intense action, and emotional conflict. The fast-paced narrative keeps the audience on the edge of their seats.

Pacing: 9

The pacing of the scene is well-crafted, with a balance of action, dialogue, and description that maintains tension and momentum. The rhythm of the scene contributes to its effectiveness.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The scene's formatting is well-executed, with clear scene headings, action descriptions, and dialogue formatting. It follows the expected format for its genre.

Structure: 9

The scene follows a clear structure with a buildup of tension, a climax of action, and a resolution that sets up future events. It adheres to the expected format for its genre.


Critique
  • The scene is intense and action-packed, with a sense of urgency and danger that is effectively conveyed through the chaos and destruction of Proximo's compound.
  • The use of flaming arrows and the ensuing inferno create a visually striking and dramatic setting, adding to the tension and high stakes of the situation.
  • The brutal slaughter of the gladiators by the Praetorian Guard is a powerful and emotional moment that highlights the ruthlessness of Commodus' regime.
  • The sequence of events, from the initial attack to the collapse of the tunnel and the arrests, is well-paced and keeps the audience engaged with the unfolding drama.
  • The use of visual imagery, such as the hanging carcasses in the butchery and Maximus' descent into the sewer, adds to the gritty and visceral nature of the scene.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more emotional depth to the interactions between Proximo, Maximus, and Juba during the chaos and destruction of the compound to further engage the audience.
  • Explore the psychological impact of the brutal events on the characters, especially Maximus and Proximo, to add layers to their motivations and actions.
  • Enhance the sense of desperation and urgency in the scene by focusing on the characters' reactions to the unfolding chaos and their determination to survive.
  • Provide more context or background information on the betrayal that led to the attack on Proximo's compound to deepen the audience's understanding of the characters' motivations.
  • Consider incorporating moments of reflection or introspection for the characters amidst the chaos to add depth and complexity to their responses to the unfolding events.



Scene 35 -  The General's Triumph
INT. PALACE - THRONE ROOM - NIGHT

Commodus stands with Lucius on a balcony overlooking the
city.

The roaring flames of the fire at Proximo's compound can
easily be seen.

LUCIUS
What is that fire?

COMMODUS
Why that's a bonfire, Lucius. I
arranged it just for you.

He puts his hand on the boy's shoulder.

Behind them, Lucilla sits slumped in a chair. Her face is a
mask of anguish at what she has been forced to do.

Two Praetorians enter with a bucket.

PRAETORIAN
Caesar...

Commodus goes to them. He talks quietly with them for a
moment and glances at what they are carrying.

COMMODUS
Oh... that's for my sister.
108.

They bring the bucket to Lucilla and set it before her.

Commodus ignores her and goes back to Lucius on the balcony.

Lucilla glances inside the bucket...

Captain Marcellus' head is floating in brine. Lucilla moans.
All is lost.


EXT. TIBER RIVER - NIGHT

Maximus splashes to the surface of the filthy Tiber, gasping
for air.

Animal carcasses float up next to him. He grabs onto one and
floats down the gently flowing river.


EXT. ITALIAN FRONT - CAMP - DAWN

The Wolf of Rome sleeps. Then its ears rise. Then its head.
It sniffs the air. The wolf slowly rises and begins loping
through the camp.

It passes slumbering soldiers and tents, smoke lazily
drifting up from campfires.

The wolf finally stops and looks up.

Maximus is on a horse. He climbs down. The wolf goes to him
and licks his hand.

Maximus begins marching through the camp, the wolf at his
side. Soldiers stir, amazed to see their General is alive.

Gallus leaps up, stunned, and goes to Maximus. They continue
to march through the camp, more and more astonished soldiers
joining them.

They march toward the large tents at the center of the
encampment.

Titus emerges from his tent. Slams to a stop --

TITUS
By all the Gods...

He goes to Maximus and embraces him.

MAXIMUS
Old friend...
109.

TITUS
You're returned from Hades! By all
the Gods!

MAXIMUS
Where is he?

Just then Quintus emerges from the largest tent. He stares
at Maximus, unbelieving.

A long beat as they look at each other.

Quintus knows his destiny. With quiet dignity he begins
whispering a prayer. Maximus moves to him, embracing him:

MAXIMUS (cont’d)
I forgive you.

He stabs Quintus with a dagger as he embraces him.

Quintus falls.

A beat.

Titus goes to the dead Quintus and pulls the seal of office
from his uniform. He hands it to Maximus.

An enormous roar of celebration from the Felix Regiment.
Genres: ["Historical Drama","Action","Thriller"]

Summary Commodus' cruelty is on display as he shows Lucius a bonfire meant for him and presents Lucilla with Marcellus' head in a bucket. Meanwhile, Maximus emerges from the Tiber and returns to the Roman camp, where he is hailed as General. He embraces Titus and forgives Quintus, but then stabs him and takes the seal of office. The Felix Regiment celebrates Maximus' triumph.
Strengths
  • Intense emotional impact
  • Compelling character dynamics
  • High-stakes conflict
Weaknesses
  • Some elements of violence may be too graphic for sensitive viewers

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene is highly engaging, emotionally impactful, and sets up a pivotal moment in the story with strong character dynamics and conflicts.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of a betrayed general returning to seek vengeance and redemption is compelling and well-executed.

Plot: 9

The plot advances significantly with the general's return, setting up a major confrontation and resolution.

Originality: 8

The scene presents a fresh approach to themes of betrayal and revenge, with authentic character actions and dialogue.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed, with complex motivations and relationships that drive the scene forward.

Character Changes: 8

The general's return marks a significant change in the dynamics and motivations of the characters involved.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal is to seek revenge and justice for the betrayal and loss he has experienced. This reflects his deeper need for closure and redemption.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal is to reclaim his position and power within the camp and confront those who have wronged him. This reflects the immediate circumstances and challenges he is facing.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict between the characters, their internal struggles, and the external threats is intense and drives the scene's tension.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with difficult obstacles and challenges that keep the audience engaged.

High Stakes: 9

The stakes are high with betrayal, revenge, and redemption on the line, adding tension and urgency to the scene.

Story Forward: 9

The scene propels the story forward by setting up a major confrontation and resolution that will impact the overall narrative.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable due to the unexpected actions and twists that occur, keeping the audience on edge.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

The philosophical conflict in this scene is between loyalty and betrayal, forgiveness and revenge. It challenges the protagonist's beliefs in honor and justice.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions of tragedy, hope, and vengeance, keeping the audience engaged and invested.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is impactful and serves to deepen the character interactions and conflicts.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its intense dialogue, dramatic conflict, and emotional stakes.

Pacing: 9

The pacing of the scene effectively builds tension and suspense, contributing to its overall effectiveness.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of the scene is clear and concise, following the expected format for its genre.

Structure: 9

The structure of the scene effectively builds tension and suspense, following the expected format for its genre.


Critique
  • The scene starts with a shocking and gruesome moment of Commodus showing Lucius a bonfire he set for him and Captain Marcellus' head floating in brine, which sets a dark and intense tone.
  • The emotional turmoil of Lucilla is effectively conveyed through her slumped posture and anguished expression, adding depth to her character.
  • The use of the Praetorians bringing a bucket to Lucilla containing Captain Marcellus' head is a powerful and disturbing visual that heightens the tension and drama of the scene.
  • Maximus' emergence from the Tiber River and his reunion with the Wolf of Rome symbolizes his rebirth and return to power, creating a sense of awe and disbelief among the soldiers.
  • The moment where Maximus forgives Quintus and then takes the seal of office from him is a pivotal and impactful moment that showcases Maximus' authority and determination.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more dialogue or internal thoughts to further explore the characters' emotions and motivations in this intense scene.
  • Provide more context or backstory to explain the significance of Captain Marcellus' head in the bucket and its impact on Lucilla and the overall plot.
  • Enhance the visual descriptions of Maximus' return to the camp and his interaction with the soldiers to emphasize the awe and disbelief of his survival.
  • Explore the aftermath of Quintus' death and Maximus taking the seal of office to delve deeper into the consequences and implications of this pivotal moment.
  • Consider incorporating a moment of reflection or introspection from Maximus to highlight his internal struggle and resolve as he takes on the role of leadership.



Scene 36 -  Colosseum Entrance
INT. PALACE - COMMODUS' BEDROOM - MORNING

A castrati choir sings a gentle hymn of celebration. Their
eerie voices and otherworldly harmonies undulate around
Commodus' bedroom.

The Emperor himself is in a chair, wrapped in a robe. His
body slaves work over him closely.

He is staring into a mirror, lost in another world as the
slaves carefully apply golden eye makeup to him.

The castrati hymn continues...


EXT. OUTSIDE THE COLOSSEUM - DAY

The hymn is all we hear as we see crowds moving into the
Colosseum...
110.

It seems that all of Rome is here for this great day. Huge
throngs of citizens move like a massive wave toward the
Colosseum entrances. Vendors are doing brisk business.
Praetorian units in full dress uniform canter past.

We elegantly float up along the outer tiers of the Colosseum
and then glide over the edge to see the arena stands...


EXT. COLOSSEUM - DAY

The hymn is all we hear as we see...

The stands are filling. We see the rich and poor alike. We
see the orator Cassius. We see Senator Falco and most of the
Senate. We see the cohort of fifty Praetorian taking up
position around the Imperial Box.

A golden platform, with stairs down to the arena sand, now
extends about twenty feet from the Imperial Box to a spot
over the arena.

We float down the stairs and then we see the arena itself...

It is stunning in its simplicity.

The days victims are tied to posts in the center of the
arena. Suspended above them is an enormous cloud. A thick,
tumescent bladder painted to look like a threatening rain
cloud.

We see Proximo and Juba. We see Senators Gracchus and Gaius.
We see Gaius' wife and Gracchus catamite and Christian
families and scholars and actors.

Seven stylized hills surround them. The hymn comes to its
soaring conclusion as we see the damned.

TIME CUT:

Later. By now, the Colosseum is packed. All fifty-five
thousand seats are taken. Another ten thousand stand
wherever they can. A feral anticipation buzzes through the
crowd.

Outside the Colosseum, the streets are crowded with thousands
more who couldn't get in.

Trumpets blare.

Commodus' six Centurion Body Guards stride into the Imperial
Box.
111.

Then Commodus enters. He is shrouded in a full lion's skin,
the head of the lion concealing his own. His head is down,
he does not look up.

Lucilla and Lucius enter after him and sit. Lucilla's face
is drained, her eyes defeated. Lucius is wearing a miniature
set of Lorica Segmentata, complete with ceremonial dagger.
Genres: ["Historical Drama","Action","Thriller"]

Summary As castrati sing, Commodus prepares for his appearance at the packed Colosseum. He enters wearing a lion's skin, followed by Lucilla and Lucius. Crowds gather outside, unable to enter.
Strengths
  • Rich character development
  • Intense conflict
  • Engaging dialogue
  • High stakes
Weaknesses
  • Some elements may be predictable
  • Limited focus on certain characters

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene is highly engaging, filled with tension, drama, and significant plot developments that keep the audience on the edge of their seats.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of a grand spectacle in the Colosseum, intertwined with political intrigue and personal vendettas, is executed with skill and depth.

Plot: 9

The plot is intricate, with multiple storylines converging towards a climactic moment, setting the stage for further conflict and resolution.

Originality: 9

The scene offers a fresh perspective on ancient Rome, blending historical accuracy with dramatic tension. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds to the originality of the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed, with complex motivations and relationships that drive the narrative forward.

Character Changes: 8

Several characters undergo significant changes in their beliefs and actions, setting the stage for further development.

Internal Goal: 8

The protagonist's internal goal in this scene is to maintain his image of power and control, as seen through his meticulous grooming and entrance into the Colosseum. This reflects his deeper need for validation and authority.

External Goal: 7

The protagonist's external goal in this scene is to oversee the events at the Colosseum and assert his dominance over the crowd and participants. This reflects the immediate circumstances of the gladiatorial games and the need to display strength and leadership.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict is intense and multi-layered, with personal, political, and moral stakes at play.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with the potential for conflict and power struggles between the characters, adding to the suspense and drama.

High Stakes: 9

The stakes are high, with lives, power, and honor on the line, creating a sense of urgency and importance.

Story Forward: 9

The scene propels the story forward, introducing new conflicts and resolutions that shape the narrative.

Unpredictability: 7

This scene is unpredictable because of the juxtaposition of power and vulnerability, creating a sense of tension and uncertainty for the characters and audience.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

The philosophical conflict evident in this scene is the juxtaposition of power and vulnerability, as seen through the Emperor's elaborate appearance and the impending violence of the games. This challenges the protagonist's beliefs about control and the nature of authority.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 8

The scene evokes a range of emotions, from tension and fear to hope and defiance, resonating with the audience.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is sharp and impactful, revealing the characters' emotions and intentions effectively.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its rich detail, dramatic tension, and anticipation for the events about to unfold at the Colosseum.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene contributes to its effectiveness by building tension and anticipation leading up to the arrival of the Emperor and the start of the games.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 8

The scene follows the expected formatting for its genre, with clear scene headings and descriptions that enhance the visual storytelling.

Structure: 8

The scene follows the expected structure for its genre, building tension and anticipation leading up to the climax of the gladiatorial games.


Critique
  • The transition from Commodus' bedroom to the outside of the Colosseum is a bit abrupt and could be smoother to maintain the flow of the scene.
  • The description of the Colosseum and the crowd entering is vivid and sets the scene well, but there could be more focus on the emotions and reactions of the characters present to add depth to the scene.
  • The introduction of the cloud bladder above the victims in the arena is intriguing, but the significance or purpose of this element could be clarified for better understanding.
  • The description of Commodus entering the arena in a lion's skin is visually striking, but more insight into his mindset or emotions in this moment could enhance the impact of his appearance.
  • The reactions of Lucilla and Lucius are briefly mentioned, but delving deeper into their emotions and thoughts as they enter the Imperial Box could add layers to their characters and the tension of the scene.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding a smoother transition between scenes to maintain the narrative flow.
  • Enhance the character reactions and emotions to provide a deeper insight into their mindset during this significant moment.
  • Clarify the significance of the cloud bladder above the victims in the arena to ensure the audience understands its purpose.
  • Provide more depth to Commodus' entrance in the lion's skin to highlight his demeanor and intentions in this grand moment.
  • Expand on the reactions of Lucilla and Lucius as they enter the Imperial Box to add tension and complexity to their characters.



Scene 37 -  Invasion of Rome
EXT. ROMAN STREET - DAY

A mangy dog is slowly crossing a dusty street on the
outskirts of Rome. The street is deserted. It seems that
almost everyone is at the Colosseum.

The dog stops. Looks up.

Then a sound is heard. The steady cadence of horses' hooves.

The Felix Regiment rounds a corner. Maximus leads the
cavalry. He wears Lorica Segmentata. His corps of archers
and soldiers follow. They troop down the dusty street.

Maximus and the cavalry canter past the mystified dog.

QUICK CUTS:

The Felix Regiment moves through the streets. The few
pedestrians quickly disappear into shops and around corners.
The roar of the Colosseum can be heard far in the distance...

Arrows slice into isolated Praetorian sentries. The Felix
Regiment continues its stealth invasion...

Finally, Maximus reins his horse and his troops stop.

The mounted City Guard are waiting.

Without a word, the City Guard joins Maximus and the two
combined forces continue their inexorable march to the
Colosseum.


EXT. COLOSSEUM - DAY

Commodus, still swathed in the lion skin, his head down,
slowly walks out on the platform that now extends from the
Imperial Box.

The crowd grows hushed.

Commodus reaches the end of the platform and waits for a
moment. Then he dramatically flings off the lion skin.
112.

The crowd gasps.

He is almost naked, his entire chiseled body is painted in
gold. His eyes are lost in an eerie reverie as he looks
around at his people.

He finally speaks:

COMMODUS
(serene)
Rome... This is the day that was
foretold. This is the day when
your father takes away all fear...
(he holds up his hands)
With these hands I shall destroy
your enemies so that you may sleep
always and forever in peace. From
this day forth let it be known that
I, Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus,
have surmounted mortality. That I,
Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus,
assume my destined place... at the
side of the Gods.

The crowd is stunned. A few scattered laughs.

Lucilla stares at him, disbelieving.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
And as a righteous God, I shall
ever protect you. I shall cradle
the world on my benevolent hands
and clasp it to my heart. So I
have spoken! And let the heavens
tremble at my might!
Genres: ["Historical Drama","Action","Political Intrigue"]

Summary Led by Maximus, the Felix Regiment stealthily invades Rome, encountering no resistance. As they approach the Colosseum, they are joined by the City Guard. Commodus, clad in gold paint, emerges from the Imperial Box, declaring himself a god to the assembled crowd.
Strengths
  • Compelling conflict
  • High stakes
  • Emotional depth
Weaknesses
  • Some elements may feel slightly melodramatic

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 8

The scene is impactful, setting up high stakes and tension for the upcoming conflict. The grandiose speech by Commodus adds depth to his character and sets the tone for the climax.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of Commodus proclaiming himself as a god-like figure and the brewing rebellion against him is compelling and drives the narrative forward.

Plot: 8

The plot thickens with the characters' plans to overthrow Commodus and Maximus leading a stealth invasion towards the Colosseum, setting the stage for a dramatic showdown.

Originality: 8

The scene presents a fresh approach to historical drama by blending elements of action, political intrigue, and philosophical conflict. The characters' actions and dialogue feel authentic to the time period and add depth to the narrative.


Character Development

Characters: 7

The characters are driven by their motivations and the conflicts they face, adding depth to the narrative.

Character Changes: 7

Characters like Maximus and Lucilla undergo changes as they make decisions that will impact their futures.

Internal Goal: 8

Maximus' internal goal in this scene is to protect Rome and its people from Commodus' tyranny. This reflects his deeper desire for justice, honor, and the preservation of the Roman Republic.

External Goal: 7

Maximus' external goal is to lead his cavalry and combined forces to confront Commodus at the Colosseum and potentially overthrow him.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict between Commodus and those plotting against him, as well as Maximus' internal conflict, heightens the tension in the scene.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with conflicting goals, power struggles, and moral dilemmas creating obstacles for the characters to overcome.

High Stakes: 9

The stakes are high as characters plot against the Emperor and Maximus leads a stealth invasion towards the Colosseum, setting the stage for a dramatic showdown.

Story Forward: 9

The scene propels the story forward towards the climax, setting up the final confrontation between the characters.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the shifting power dynamics, unexpected character choices, and the potential for betrayal or redemption.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

The philosophical conflict in this scene is between Commodus' delusional belief in his own god-like status and Maximus' commitment to truth, justice, and the well-being of Rome. This challenges Maximus' values of honor, integrity, and loyalty to the Roman Republic.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 8

The scene evokes a range of emotions, from tension to anticipation, as the characters' fates hang in the balance.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue is impactful, especially Commodus' grandiose speech, which reveals his character's delusions of grandeur.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its high stakes, dramatic tension, and character dynamics. The conflict between Maximus and Commodus keeps the audience invested in the outcome.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene builds tension effectively, with a mix of action sequences, dialogue-driven moments, and dramatic reveals.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The scene follows the expected formatting for its genre, with clear scene headings, action lines, and character dialogue.

Structure: 9

The scene follows the expected structure for its genre, with a clear setup, conflict, and resolution leading to the next plot point.


Critique
  • The transition from the previous scene to this one is abrupt and lacks a smooth connection. It would benefit from a clearer transition to set the tone and context for the audience.
  • The description of the dog crossing the street and the Felix Regiment approaching is vivid and sets the scene well, but the significance of the dog's actions could be more clearly tied to the upcoming events.
  • The introduction of Maximus leading the cavalry is strong, but more insight into his emotions, thoughts, or motivations in this moment could add depth to his character.
  • Commodus' grand entrance at the Colosseum is dramatic and visually striking, but the transition from Maximus' approach to Commodus' speech could be smoother to maintain the flow of the scene.
  • The dialogue by Commodus is grandiose and sets up his character as arrogant and power-hungry, but it could benefit from more subtlety or nuance to make his character more complex and engaging.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding a brief transition scene or narration to smoothly connect the previous scene's events to the current scene and set the stage for what is to come.
  • Provide more insight into Maximus' thoughts or emotions as he leads the cavalry, giving the audience a deeper understanding of his character and motivations.
  • Enhance the significance of the dog's actions or include a symbolic element to tie it more closely to the upcoming events at the Colosseum.
  • Refine Commodus' dialogue to balance his grandiosity with subtlety, adding layers to his character and making his speech more engaging.
  • Work on the pacing of the scene to ensure a smooth transition from Maximus' approach to Commodus' speech, maintaining the momentum and tension of the moment.



Scene 38 -  Maximus and the City Guard Confront the Praetorian Guard
EXT. ROMAN STREETS - DAY

Maximus continues to lead the combined Felix Regiment and
City Guard cavalry through the streets. The roaring is
closer now. They are nearing the Colosseum, they can just
glimpse the edge of the top tier over some building.


EXT. COLOSSEUM - DAY

Commodus continues:

COMMODUS
This day I reclaim Rome for her
people.
(MORE)
113.
COMMODUS(cont'd)
I shall give you the rebirth of
your Empire! Reborn and cleansed
of her enemies!

He raises his arms. At his cue the Praetorian archers raise
their bows, ready, aiming at the victims.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
I will make a new Rome! Founded as
it was at the beginning! Archers --
GIVE US BLOOD!

The Praetorians suddenly point their bows higher and fire --

They shoot the cloud -- the bladder EXPLODES and thick blood
rains down on the victims -- the blood splashes over them,
coating them.


EXT. OUTSIDE COLOSSEUM - DAY

The roar from the Colosseum is now deafening as Maximus and
the City Guard round the final corner -- the Colosseum is
before them -- the massive Praetorian Guard force is caught
of guard -- with crisp military efficiency the Felix Regiment
and the City Guard quickly canter into place, an unbroken
line of seasoned warriors facing the Praetorians.

The huge mob outside the Colosseum is confused, intrigued,
watching the face-off. The mounted archers of the Felix
Regiment have drawn their bows.

Maximus looks down from his horse at a Praetorian Officer.

MAXIMUS
Throw down your weapons or we will
kill you.

A beat.

The Praetorian Officer glances at the formidable force
against him. He drops his sword. His men follow suit.

MAXIMUS (cont’d)
(he turns to his men)
FELIX REGIMENT! DO HONOR TO YOUR
ANCESTORS! I SALUTE YOU!

He spurs his horse and the Felix Regiment roars, springing
into action -- they gallop through the crowd and to the
Colosseum -- meanwhile the City Guard disarm and guard the
Praetorian --
114.
Genres: ["Action","Drama","Historical"]

Summary Outside the Colosseum, Maximus and the City Guard confront the Praetorian Guard. Commodus, from within the Colosseum, orders his archers to rain blood on the victims inside. The Praetorians, aiming higher, explode a bladder of blood over the victims. Maximus demands the Praetorians' surrender, and they comply. The Felix Regiment charges into the Colosseum, while the City Guard disarms the Praetorians.
Strengths
  • Intense conflict
  • Emotional depth
  • Dynamic plot progression
Weaknesses
  • Possible lack of subtlety in dialogue
  • Some predictable plot elements

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene is highly engaging, with a strong plot, well-developed characters, intense dialogue, and a significant emotional impact.


Story Content

Concept: 9

The concept of a rebellion against a tyrannical ruler, the clash of ideologies between Maximus and Commodus, and the theme of justice and redemption are well-executed.

Plot: 9

The plot is dynamic, with a clear progression towards the climax of the scene. The tension builds effectively, leading to a satisfying resolution.

Originality: 9

The scene is original in its depiction of a power struggle in ancient Rome, blending historical elements with dramatic storytelling. The characters' actions and dialogue feel authentic and engaging, adding depth to the narrative.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed, with complex motivations and relationships. Their interactions drive the scene forward and add depth to the narrative.

Character Changes: 8

Maximus undergoes a significant transformation, from a reluctant warrior to a leader of rebellion. His actions and decisions drive the plot forward and impact the other characters.

Internal Goal: 9

Maximus's internal goal in this scene is to reclaim Rome for its people and restore the empire to its former glory. This reflects his deeper desire for justice, honor, and the protection of his fellow citizens.

External Goal: 8

Maximus's external goal in this scene is to confront and defeat the Praetorian Guard, who are loyal to Commodus. This reflects the immediate challenge he faces in reclaiming control of Rome and protecting the people from tyranny.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict between Maximus and Commodus, as well as the larger conflict between the rebels and the tyrannical regime, creates a high level of tension and drama.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with conflicting goals and motivations driving the conflict between Maximus and the Praetorian Guard. The uncertainty of the outcome adds to the suspense and drama.

High Stakes: 9

The stakes are high, with the fate of Rome hanging in the balance. The characters risk their lives to fight for justice and freedom.

Story Forward: 9

The scene propels the story forward by setting up the final confrontation between Maximus and Commodus, as well as the rebellion against the tyrannical regime.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the shifting power dynamics, unexpected alliances, and dramatic twists. The outcome of the confrontation is uncertain, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats.

Philosophical Conflict: 8

The philosophical conflict in this scene is between the values of loyalty to the emperor and loyalty to the people. Commodus believes in ruling through fear and power, while Maximus believes in serving the people and upholding justice.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions in the characters and the audience, particularly feelings of hope, defiance, and triumph.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is impactful and serves to reveal the characters' emotions, motivations, and conflicts. It enhances the tension and drama of the scene.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its high stakes, intense action, and emotional depth. The conflict between the characters creates suspense and tension, drawing the audience into the story.

Pacing: 9

The pacing of the scene is well-executed, with a balance of action, dialogue, and description. The rhythm builds tension and suspense, leading to a satisfying resolution.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of the scene is clear and concise, with effective use of scene headings, dialogue, and action descriptions. It adheres to the standard format for a screenplay, enhancing readability and visual storytelling.

Structure: 9

The structure of the scene follows the expected format for its genre, building tension through escalating conflict and resolution. The pacing and rhythm are well-executed, keeping the audience engaged.


Critique
  • The scene lacks a clear transition from the previous scene, making it slightly disjointed for the audience.
  • The dialogue by Commodus feels a bit cliched and lacks depth, considering the gravity of the situation.
  • The visual of blood raining down on the victims could be more impactful if described in a more vivid and visceral manner.
  • The confrontation between Maximus and the Praetorian Officer feels rushed and could benefit from more tension and buildup.
  • The transition from the outside of the Colosseum to the face-off between the Felix Regiment and the Praetorian Guard could be smoother.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding a brief transition or establishing shot to connect this scene more seamlessly with the previous one.
  • Enhance Commodus' dialogue to reflect his complex character and the weight of his actions.
  • Describe the blood raining down on the victims in a more vivid and evocative manner to create a stronger visual impact.
  • Build up the tension in the confrontation between Maximus and the Praetorian Officer to make the moment more dramatic.
  • Work on the pacing and flow of the scene to ensure a smoother transition between different locations and actions.



Scene 39 -  Clash in the Colosseum
EXT. COLOSSEUM - DAY

Commodus continues:

COMMODUS
As it was at the beginning so is it
now. The great She-Wolf of Rome
will again suckle us, again ravage
our enemies -- AND BRING US A WORLD
REBORN!

At his cue, two elevator platforms rumble into view, rising
from the bowels of the Colosseum to the arena sand.

On each platform is a cage full of ferocious wolves, they
snap and growl, straining to be released.

COMMODUS (cont’d)
So it was for Romulus and Remus,
sons of Mars, so shall it be for
us! The great She-Wolf will --

Suddenly -- the huge wooden doors of the arena burst open and
Maximus leads the Felix Regiment cavalry thundering into the
arena.

The crowd is stunned -- Commodus is stunned -- Lucilla bolts
up --

Commodus immediately spins to Lucilla, his eyes burning --

His Praetorian are momentarily confused --

At Gallus' command the Felix Regiment archers let fly --
multiple arrows and bolts cut through most of the Praetorians
-- some confusing skirmishes as the remaining Praetorians
fire back --

Maximus leaps from his horse and begins cutting the prisoners
free --

Meanwhile, Commodus strides back down the platform toward
Lucilla in the Imperial Box, murder in his eyes --

She suddenly hugs Lucius quickly and kisses him --

LUCILLA
Remember your mother.

She pulls the ceremonial dagger from his little uniform and
pushes him to his attendant -- his attendant pulls him away
as --
115.

Lucilla spins to Commodus -- he grabs her into an embrace --
he turns the knife on her -- thrusting deeply as he kisses
her --

A long kiss as he holds her tightly to him. Then he gently
sits her down on her throne. Her eyes wide, dying.

One of Commodus' Body Guards grabs him:

CENTURION BODY GUARD
Caesar -- we must go -- !

Commodus' six Centurion Body Guards begin hustling him out of
the Imperial Box --

COMMODUS
GET THE BOY!

He grabs Lucius from his attendant and drags him off --

They try to escape out the back of the Imperial Box -- but
Felix Regiment troops are blocking their way -- racing up
toward them --

CENTURION BODY GUARD
THIS WAY, CAESAR!

Below, through the confusion, Maximus sees Commodus escaping
with Lucius down through a side tunnel.

Maximus cuts Juba and Proximo free. Juba immediately
snatches up a sword. Maximus quickly offers a sword to
Proximo.

MAXIMUS
Captain?

Proximo takes the sword.

MAXIMUS (cont’d)
(re: Commodus and the
others)
Where are they going?!

PROXIMO
This way!

They race across the arena and into a tunnel...
116.
Genres: ["Action","Drama","Historical"]

Summary Amidst the symbolic rebirth of Rome, Maximus leads a cavalry charge into the arena, disrupting Commodus's plans. Commodus reacts by murdering Lucilla, and the ensuing chaos allows Maximus to free the prisoners. Commodus attempts to escape with Lucius, but is confronted by Maximus and Proximo, who pursue them into a tunnel.
Strengths
  • Intense action
  • Emotional depth
  • Character development
  • High stakes
Weaknesses
  • Some predictable elements
  • Slightly melodramatic moments

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene is highly engaging, with a mix of action, drama, and emotional depth that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of a final confrontation between Maximus and Commodus in the Colosseum is compelling and well-executed, with high stakes and emotional resonance.

Plot: 9

The plot is intense and gripping, with a clear progression towards the ultimate showdown between Maximus and Commodus, driving the narrative forward.

Originality: 9

The scene presents a fresh take on the historical setting of ancient Rome, blending elements of action, drama, and political intrigue. The characters' actions and dialogue feel authentic and contribute to the overall authenticity of the scene.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed and their motivations are clear, especially Maximus and Commodus, whose conflict drives the scene.

Character Changes: 8

Maximus undergoes a significant change in this scene, from a gladiator seeking revenge to a leader fighting for justice and freedom.

Internal Goal: 9

Maximus' internal goal in this scene is to protect Lucilla and Lucius, as well as to seek revenge against Commodus for his betrayal and the murder of his family. This reflects his deeper desire for justice and redemption.

External Goal: 8

Maximus' external goal in this scene is to rescue Lucius and defeat Commodus and his Praetorian guards. This reflects the immediate challenge of overcoming the obstacles in his way to achieve his internal goal of revenge and protection.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict between Maximus and Commodus reaches its peak in this scene, with high stakes and emotional intensity driving the action.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with Maximus facing multiple obstacles in his quest to rescue Lucius and confront Commodus. The uncertainty of the outcome adds to the tension and drama of the scene.

High Stakes: 9

The stakes are high in this scene, with the fate of Rome hanging in the balance as Maximus and Commodus face off in a battle for power.

Story Forward: 9

The scene propels the story forward towards its climax, setting up the final confrontation between Maximus and Commodus.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the unexpected twists and turns in the plot, such as Commodus' betrayal and Maximus' heroic actions. The audience is kept on the edge of their seats, unsure of how the events will unfold.

Philosophical Conflict: 8

The philosophical conflict in this scene is between the values of power and justice. Commodus represents the pursuit of power at any cost, while Maximus embodies the ideals of honor and righteousness. This challenges Maximus' beliefs in the face of Commodus' ruthless actions.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene is emotionally charged, with moments of tragedy, betrayal, and redemption that resonate with the audience.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is impactful and serves to heighten the tension and emotion of the scene, particularly in the interactions between Maximus, Lucilla, and Commodus.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its high stakes, intense action sequences, and emotional character dynamics. The audience is drawn into the conflict and invested in the outcome.

Pacing: 9

The pacing of the scene is well-executed, with a balance of action, dialogue, and character development. The rhythm of the scene builds tension and suspense, keeping the audience engaged from start to finish.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of the scene adheres to the expected format for its genre, with clear scene headings, action lines, and character dialogue. This enhances the readability and flow of the scene.

Structure: 9

The scene follows the expected structure for its genre, with a clear setup, rising action, and resolution. The pacing and rhythm of the scene contribute to its effectiveness in building tension and suspense.


Critique
  • The scene starts with a powerful and dramatic speech by Commodus, setting the stage for a grand spectacle in the Colosseum. However, the transition from his speech to Maximus leading the Felix Regiment cavalry into the arena feels a bit abrupt and could benefit from a smoother transition.
  • The action sequences involving the Felix Regiment cavalry charging into the arena and engaging in combat with the Praetorian Guard are well-described and create a sense of chaos and tension. However, the scene could be enhanced by providing more sensory details to immerse the reader in the sights, sounds, and emotions of the battle.
  • The moment when Commodus turns on Lucilla and the subsequent chaos with Maximus cutting the prisoners free and the confrontation between Commodus and the Felix Regiment troops is intense and gripping. However, the emotional impact of Lucilla's death could be further emphasized to evoke a stronger reaction from the audience.
  • The escape of Commodus with Lucius through a side tunnel adds a sense of urgency and suspense to the scene. This moment could be heightened by building up the tension and stakes as Maximus and his allies race to intercept them.
  • Overall, the scene effectively builds towards a climactic confrontation between Maximus and Commodus, setting the stage for a dramatic and action-packed resolution.
Suggestions
  • Consider refining the transition between Commodus' speech and Maximus' entrance to create a smoother flow of events.
  • Enhance the sensory details in the action sequences to fully immerse the reader in the intensity of the battle.
  • Focus on amplifying the emotional impact of Lucilla's death to evoke a stronger reaction from the audience.
  • Build up the tension and stakes as Maximus and his allies race to intercept Commodus and Lucius, heightening the sense of urgency and suspense.
  • Continue to maintain the momentum and intensity of the scene leading up to the climactic confrontation between Maximus and Commodus for a satisfying resolution.



Scene 40 -  Final Battle in the Catacombs
INT. COLOSSEUM - BOWELS - DAY

Proximo leads them through a series of catacombs -- damp
tunnels shoot off in every direction -- everywhere around
them the heavy machinery of the games rise like mammoth
creatures to the arena above -- a baroque network of ropes
and pulleys and counterweights and elevator platforms and air
shafts and blood sewers -- And they suddenly run directly
into Commodus, dragging Lucius, and his six Centurions coming
the other direction.

The final battle begins with no preamble --

Maximus launches himself forward -- instantly separating
Commodus and Lucius -- he slams at Commodus with his sword --
Commodus slams back --

Proximo and Juba race into the six Centurions -- a wild free-
for-all as they prove their worth as warriors -- Juba fights
with his usual elegant precision -- Proximo fights as a man
reborn, alive again --

Proximo takes cagey advantage of his knowledge of this
subterranean world -- spinning around machinery and leaping
over blood sewers and swinging heavy counterweights --

Maximus and Commodus hack at each other with all the fiery
passion in them -- Commodus is a perfect match for Maximus
and equally ruthless -- their swords thrust and parry and
slice at amazing speed -- one false move, one mistake, means
death --

Meanwhile, the battle is turning into a victory for Juba and
Proximo -- they are defeating the Centurions -- Commodus sees
this -- and sees Lucius crying in a corner --

He screams to one of his remaining Centurions:

COMMODUS
KILL THE BOY!

Maximus whirls to Lucius -- Commodus attacks -- slashing
Maximus' shoulders -- Maximus sees Proximo racing to try and
save Lucius as he spins back to battle Commodus --

A Centurion raises his sword to kill Lucius -- Juba kills his
final opponent, turns -- Proximo just manages to push Lucius
out of the way -- the Centurion's sword slices into him --
117.

Juba flings his sword across the room -- the final Centurion
falls -- Maximus sees Proximo collapse to a wall -- dying --
Proximo locks eyes with Maximus as he slides down the wall.
The old pirate shrugs. And is dead.

Juba races to Lucius and holds the boy, turning his face away
from the slaughter --

Maximus, his furious passion redoubled at Proximo's death,
attacks Commodus with every ounce of strength in him --

Commodus' eyes begin to flash with something we have never
seen before, fear.

Maximus strikes mercilessly -- forcing Commodus steadily back
until they are fighting atop one of the elevator platforms to
the arena above.

MAXIMUS
For my wife!

Maximus strike hard -- Commodus barely blocks the blow --

MAXIMUS (cont’d)
For my son!

He strikes harder -- Commodus is losing --

MAXIMUS (cont’d)
For my father!

He strikes with everything he's got -- slashing Commodus --
Commodus sails back -- his sword falling --

Maximus stands over him. Glaring. Commodus is panting,
defeated, glaring up at him.

A beat.

MAXIMUS (cont’d)
We who are about to die salute you.

Maximus raises his sword high -- Commodus raises an arm --
Maximus SMASHES the sword down -- and Commodus is dead.

A moment as Maximus stands over Commodus. Then he looks at
the series of counterweight ropes around the elevator
platform.

He slices through one of the ropes and the platform begins to
rise...
118.
Genres: ["Action","Drama"]

Summary Maximus and Commodus engage in a final battle in the catacombs, with Commodus' Centurions also fighting. Proximo sacrifices himself to save Lucius, while Juba kills the remaining Centurion. Maximus defeats Commodus in a duel and kills him, before slicing a rope and the platform they are on begins to rise.
Strengths
  • Intense action
  • Emotional depth
  • Dramatic tension
  • Character development
Weaknesses
  • Potential for excessive violence
  • Complexity of action sequences

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene is highly impactful, with intense action, emotional depth, and significant character development. The stakes are high, and the resolution is both tragic and satisfying.


Story Content

Concept: 8

The concept of the final battle between Maximus and Commodus in the bowels of the Colosseum is executed with great intensity and emotional weight.

Plot: 9

The plot is driven by the intense conflict between Maximus and Commodus, leading to a climactic showdown with high stakes and emotional resonance.

Originality: 8

The scene offers a fresh take on the classic gladiatorial battle trope, with complex character motivations and moral conflicts driving the action. The authenticity of the characters' actions and dialogue adds depth to the familiar setting.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters, especially Maximus and Commodus, undergo significant development in this scene, with their fates intertwined in a tragic and dramatic confrontation.

Character Changes: 9

Multiple characters undergo significant changes in this scene, particularly Maximus and Commodus, whose fates are sealed in a climactic confrontation.

Internal Goal: 9

Maximus's internal goal in this scene is to protect Lucius and avenge the death of Proximo. This reflects his deeper desire for justice and redemption, as well as his fear of failing to protect those he cares about.

External Goal: 8

Maximus's external goal is to defeat Commodus in the final battle. This goal reflects the immediate challenge he faces in the arena and his desire to bring down the corrupt emperor.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict between Maximus and Commodus reaches its peak in this scene, with high stakes and emotional intensity driving the action forward.

Opposition: 8

The opposition in the scene is strong, with Maximus facing formidable challenges and obstacles that keep the audience guessing about the outcome of the battle.

High Stakes: 10

The stakes are incredibly high in this scene, with the lives of key characters on the line and the fate of Rome hanging in the balance.

Story Forward: 9

The scene propels the story forward towards its climax, resolving key conflicts and setting the stage for the final resolution.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the unexpected twists and turns in the battle, as well as the moral dilemmas faced by the characters.

Philosophical Conflict: 8

The philosophical conflict in this scene is between Maximus's sense of honor and justice and Commodus's ruthless ambition and cruelty. This challenges Maximus's beliefs in loyalty and righteousness, as he must confront the darker side of power and corruption.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions in the audience, with tragic moments, intense action, and dramatic character arcs that leave a lasting impact.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is impactful and serves to heighten the emotional and dramatic tension of the scene, particularly during the final confrontation between Maximus and Commodus.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its high stakes, emotional depth, and intense action sequences that keep the audience on the edge of their seats.

Pacing: 9

The pacing of the scene effectively builds tension and suspense, keeping the audience engaged and invested in the outcome of the battle.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting of the scene effectively conveys the chaotic and intense nature of the battle, with clear descriptions of the action and dialogue.

Structure: 9

The scene follows the expected structure for a climactic battle sequence, building tension and conflict leading to a dramatic resolution.


Critique
  • The scene is action-packed and intense, with a lot of physical combat and emotional stakes.
  • The battle between Maximus and Commodus is well-executed, showcasing their skills and determination.
  • The death of Proximo adds an emotional depth to the scene, highlighting the sacrifices made in the pursuit of justice.
  • The use of the underground catacombs adds an interesting and dynamic setting to the scene.
  • The dialogue is impactful, especially Maximus's final words to Commodus before delivering the fatal blow.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding more internal thoughts or emotions for Maximus and Commodus during the battle to further develop their characters.
  • Provide more context or backstory for Proximo to enhance the emotional impact of his sacrifice.
  • Explore the relationship between Maximus and Lucius further to add depth to their connection.
  • Add more visual descriptions to enhance the setting and action sequences.
  • Consider incorporating a moment of reflection or aftermath after the battle to show the consequences of the conflict.



Scene 41 -  Maximus Declines the Purple
EXT. COLOSSEUM - ARENA - DAY

A trap door springs open and the elevator platform rises to
the sand of the arena. Maximus stands above the dead
Emperor.

The crowd stares in amazement -- and then begins to cheer in
joy at the return of their hero. A chant begins... "Maximus
the Merciful... Maximus the Merciful... Maximus the
Merciful..." which then grows to a refrain of "Caesar...
Caesar... Caesar..."

Maximus ignores them, his eyes drawn to one sight: Lucilla.

He goes to the steps of the platform leading to the Imperial
Box. He slowly climbs the steps.

In the Imperial Box, Senator Gracchus is standing. So too
Juba and others.

Lucius is kneeling by his mother, holding her hand, his head
down. Lucilla is dead. Lucius mourns with quiet dignity.

Maximus looks at Lucilla and kneels. He takes her other
hand. A long moment. He looks at Lucius.

Then he slowly bends forward and kisses Lucilla deeply, the
ritual farewell.

He stands.

Senator Gracchus steps to him:

GRACCHUS
General, the purple is yours if you
so desire. The Senate will support
you.

Maximus looks at him. And then at the people. The chant of
"Caesar... Caesar... Caesar..." is like a powerful beating
heart.

Maximus moves to the edge of the Imperial Box to address the
people. The crowd grows silent.

Maximus looks around at the blood of the arena.

MAXIMUS
Rome... you are better than this.
Look inside yourselves. I
challenge you to find your true
voice.
(MORE)
119.
MAXIMUS(cont'd)
Help the Senate speak for you.
Make them your champion... And dare
to think what could be.

A beat.

MAXIMUS (cont’d)
I give you back the dream.

With that he slowly turns and walks down the steps to the
arena sand. The crowd is absolutely silent.

He goes to Titus:

MAXIMUS (cont’d)
When everything has calmed down,
lead an orderly withdrawal. Take
them home.

Titus salutes.

Maximus return the salute and then leaps onto his horse. As
he canters toward the exit he turns for one final look at
Lucilla.

He sees that Lucius is now at the foot of the stairs, on the
arena sand, gazing at him.

Maximus stops his horse.

He canters back to Lucius. The boy looks up at him. A
moment between them.

Lucius thrusts up his hand. Maximus grabs his hand and
swings him onto the horse behind him.

A look to Juba. Juba bows his head with respect.

Farewell.

Maximus spins the horse around and begins cantering out of
the Colosseum.

Juba disappears into the crowd.

Maximus and Lucius canter across the arena and through the
huge doors...
120.
Genres: ["Historical Drama","Action","Adventure"]

Summary Maximus stands over the dead Emperor, cheered by the crowd. He ignores them and climbs to the Imperial Box, where he finds his son, Lucius, mourning over the body of his mother, Lucilla. Maximus kneels and kisses Lucilla, then stands and is offered the purple by Senator Gracchus. Maximus looks at the people, who are still chanting for him to be Caesar, and then addresses them, urging them to find their true voice and help the Senate speak for them. He gives them back the dream and walks down the steps to the arena sand. He tells Titus to lead an orderly withdrawal and take the people home, then mounts his horse and canters toward the exit. He turns to look at Lucilla one last time and sees Lucius at the foot of the stairs. He canters back to Lucius, who thrusts up his hand, and Maximus swings him onto the horse behind him. They canter out of the Colosseum together.
Strengths
  • Emotional depth
  • Powerful dialogue
  • Strong character development
  • High stakes conflict resolution
Weaknesses
  • Some predictable plot elements
  • Slightly melodramatic moments

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene is emotionally impactful, well-paced, and resolves major conflicts while setting the stage for a new beginning. The dialogue is powerful, the characters are fully realized, and the themes of redemption and sacrifice are effectively portrayed.


Story Content

Concept: 9

The concept of overthrowing a tyrant and restoring honor and justice to Rome is executed with skill and depth. The scene effectively conveys the themes of redemption, sacrifice, and the power of the people to bring about change.

Plot: 9

The plot is engaging, with high stakes and a satisfying resolution to the conflict between Maximus and Commodus. The scene moves the story forward significantly and sets the stage for the climax of the film.

Originality: 8

The scene offers a fresh take on the historical setting of ancient Rome, blending elements of action, drama, and political intrigue. The characters' actions and dialogue feel authentic and resonate with the audience.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters are well-developed and undergo significant growth, particularly Maximus who demonstrates heroism, honor, and sacrifice. Commodus is a compelling antagonist whose downfall is both tragic and satisfying.

Character Changes: 8

Maximus undergoes a significant transformation, from a fallen hero seeking revenge to a noble leader willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good. Commodus also experiences a downfall that leads to his ultimate demise.

Internal Goal: 9

Maximus's internal goal in this scene is to honor Lucilla and her memory, while also challenging the people of Rome to find their true voice and potential for greatness.

External Goal: 8

Maximus's external goal is to address the people of Rome and inspire them to make positive changes in their society.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 9

The conflict between Maximus and Commodus reaches its climax in a dramatic and intense final battle. The stakes are high, and the emotional impact of the conflict is palpable.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in the scene is strong, with Maximus facing internal and external challenges that test his beliefs and values. The audience is kept on edge, unsure of how Maximus will navigate these obstacles.

High Stakes: 9

The stakes are incredibly high, with the fate of Rome hanging in the balance. The final battle between Maximus and Commodus determines the future of the empire and the lives of the characters involved.

Story Forward: 9

The scene propels the story forward by resolving major conflicts, setting the stage for the climax, and establishing a new direction for the characters and the plot. The events in this scene have a significant impact on the overall narrative.

Unpredictability: 8

This scene is unpredictable because of the unexpected emotional twists and turns, as well as Maximus's surprising actions and decisions. The audience is kept on their toes and unsure of what will happen next.

Philosophical Conflict: 9

The philosophical conflict in this scene is between the current state of Rome, filled with violence and bloodshed, and Maximus's vision of a better, more noble Rome. This challenges Maximus's beliefs in honor, justice, and the potential for change.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene is emotionally charged, with moments of grief, sacrifice, and redemption. The death of Lucilla and the final confrontation between Maximus and Commodus evoke strong emotions in the audience.

Dialogue: 8

The dialogue is impactful and serves to deepen the emotional resonance of the scene. The speeches given by Maximus and Commodus are particularly powerful and reveal the inner conflicts of the characters.

Engagement: 9

This scene is engaging because of its emotional depth, dramatic tension, and powerful character interactions. The audience is drawn into the story and invested in Maximus's journey.

Pacing: 9

The pacing of the scene is expertly crafted, building tension and emotional resonance through its rhythm and flow. The dialogue and action are well-timed and contribute to the scene's effectiveness.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The scene follows the expected formatting for its genre, with clear scene descriptions, character actions, and dialogue. The formatting enhances the readability and impact of the scene.

Structure: 9

The scene follows a well-paced and structured format, building tension and emotional resonance through its progression. It effectively balances action, dialogue, and character development.


Critique
  • The scene lacks a clear resolution to the conflict between Maximus and Commodus. While Maximus defeats Commodus in a duel, there is no closure or finality to their rivalry.
  • The transition from the intense battle between Maximus and Commodus to Maximus addressing the crowd feels abrupt and disjointed. There needs to be a smoother transition to connect these two important moments.
  • The emotional impact of Lucilla's death is not fully explored or given enough weight in the scene. Maximus' reaction to her death could be more poignant and impactful.
  • The dialogue delivered by Maximus to the crowd feels somewhat generic and lacks the emotional depth needed for such a pivotal moment. It could be more powerful and inspiring.
  • The scene could benefit from more visual cues to enhance the atmosphere and emotional resonance, such as focusing on the reactions of the crowd and the characters in the Imperial Box.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding a final confrontation or exchange of words between Maximus and Commodus to provide closure to their conflict.
  • Work on creating a smoother transition between the battle scene and Maximus addressing the crowd to maintain the flow and coherence of the narrative.
  • Enhance the emotional impact of Lucilla's death by allowing Maximus to express his grief and sorrow more visibly, adding depth to his character.
  • Revise the dialogue spoken by Maximus to the crowd to make it more compelling, inspiring, and reflective of his journey and character development.
  • Include more visual details and cues to capture the reactions of the crowd and characters, heightening the tension and emotional resonance of the scene.



Scene 42 -  A Glimpse of Hope Amidst the Ruins
EXT. COLOSSEUM - DAY

From high above we see Maximus and Lucius riding out of the
Colosseum and disappearing into the streets of Rome.

FADE TO:


EXT. VINEYARD - DAWN

Maximus stands with Lucius at his old vineyard.

It is still scorched and dead, weeds overgrowing the
vineyards, the house ruined.

Maximus puts a hand on the boy's shoulder, this boy so like
his own son.

MAXIMUS
It doesn't look it now... but soon
we'll have it growing again... Next
year there will be vines, and then
there will be grapes... It will be
alive.

We leave them, dreaming of the future.

FADE OUT.

THE END
Genres: ["Historical Drama","Action","Adventure"]

Summary Despite the desolate state of Maximus' vineyard, he expresses optimism to Lucius, envisioning a future where vines and grapes will thrive, restoring life to the once-fertile land.
Strengths
  • Emotional resonance
  • Symbolism of hope and renewal
  • Character growth and closure
Weaknesses
  • Minimal external conflict
  • Limited dialogue

Ratings
Overall

Overall: 9

The scene effectively concludes the story with a sense of closure and hope, providing a satisfying resolution to the characters' arcs and the overall narrative.


Story Content

Concept: 9

The concept of finding hope and renewal in the midst of destruction and loss is well-executed, offering a poignant and uplifting conclusion to the story.

Plot: 8

The plot effectively ties up loose ends and resolves the major conflicts, leading to a sense of closure and new beginnings for the characters.

Originality: 8

The scene offers a fresh take on the theme of redemption, with Maximus finding hope in rebuilding his vineyard.


Character Development

Characters: 9

The characters, particularly Maximus and Lucius, show growth and resilience in the face of adversity, making their journey and ultimate reunion emotionally resonant.

Character Changes: 8

Maximus and Lucius undergo significant emotional growth and transformation, finding closure and a sense of purpose in the aftermath of the conflict.

Internal Goal: 9

Maximus' internal goal is to find purpose and redemption after his time as a gladiator. He wants to rebuild his vineyard as a symbol of hope and renewal.

External Goal: 8

Maximus' external goal is to restore his vineyard and provide a better future for himself and Lucius.


Scene Elements

Conflict Level: 3

While there is minimal external conflict in the scene, the internal struggles and emotional resolutions of the characters drive the narrative forward.

Opposition: 7

The opposition in the scene comes from the challenges of rebuilding the vineyard, adding conflict and stakes.

High Stakes: 6

While the stakes are not as high in this scene compared to earlier conflicts, the emotional resolution and new beginnings for the characters carry significant weight.

Story Forward: 7

The scene serves as a poignant conclusion to the story, moving the narrative forward by resolving key plot points and character arcs.

Unpredictability: 7

The scene is unpredictable in terms of whether Maximus will succeed in rebuilding the vineyard, adding tension and suspense.

Philosophical Conflict: 7

The philosophical conflict is between the past and the future, as Maximus grapples with his history as a gladiator and his desire to create a new life for himself and Lucius.


Audience Engagement

Emotional Impact: 9

The scene evokes strong emotions of hope, nostalgia, and optimism, leaving a lasting impact on the audience.

Dialogue: 7

The dialogue is heartfelt and reflective, conveying the characters' emotions and aspirations for the future.

Engagement: 8

This scene is engaging because of its emotional depth and the audience's investment in Maximus' journey.

Pacing: 8

The pacing of the scene is effective in building tension and emotion, leading to a satisfying conclusion.


Technical Aspect

Formatting: 9

The formatting adheres to the expected format for a screenplay, with clear scene headings and dialogue.

Structure: 9

The scene follows a traditional structure for a character-driven moment, focusing on Maximus' internal and external goals.


Critique
  • The transition from the Colosseum to Maximus' vineyard is abrupt and lacks a smooth transition. It may benefit from a more seamless segue to connect the two locations.
  • The description of the vineyard as scorched and dead with weeds overgrowing the vineyards and the house in ruins is a bit cliched and could be more visually engaging or unique.
  • The dialogue between Maximus and Lucius feels a bit generic and could be more emotionally impactful or meaningful given the weight of the moment.
  • The scene lacks a strong emotional resolution or closure to Maximus' character arc. It could benefit from a more poignant or powerful ending to leave a lasting impact on the audience.
  • There is a missed opportunity to explore Maximus' internal journey and emotional growth throughout the story, which could have been reflected in this final scene.
Suggestions
  • Consider adding a brief reflection or moment of introspection for Maximus as he stands in his vineyard, perhaps reminiscing on his journey or the sacrifices he has made.
  • Enhance the visual description of the vineyard to create a more vivid and evocative image for the audience, capturing the essence of rebirth and hope.
  • Revise the dialogue between Maximus and Lucius to be more heartfelt and meaningful, emphasizing their bond and the impact of their shared experiences.
  • Explore different ways to conclude Maximus' story arc, whether through a symbolic gesture, a profound realization, or a poignant farewell to his past.
  • Consider incorporating a final moment of catharsis or closure for Maximus, allowing the audience to fully experience the emotional resolution of his character journey.