Genre: Historical/Drama/War
Director: Oliver Stone
Starring: Colin Farrell, Angelina Jolie, Val Kilmer, Jared Leto, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Anthony Hopkins
RunTime: 2 hrs 50 mins
Released By: Shaw
Rating: M18

Released Date: 2 December 2004


ALEXANDER, Oliver Stone's sweeping historical saga that charts the life and legend of one of the greatest figures in world history. The story is an epic that is as daring and ambitious as its subject, a relentless conqueror who by the age of 32 had amassed the greatest empire the world had ever seen. Past and present collide to form the puzzle of the protagonist, a tapestry of triumphs and tragedies in which childhood memories and Alexander's rise to power unfold side by side with the later day expansion of his empire, and its ultimate downfall. From his youth, fueled by dreams of glory and adventure, to his lonely and mysterious death as a ruler of a vast state, from the tumultuous relationship with his parents-a powerful king and a queen determined to put her child on the throne at any cost-to the rousing brotherly bonds with his closest companions and vast army, as they fought from the sun-scorched battlefields of the Persian Empire across the snow-peaked mountains of India, the film chronicles Alexander's journey to become a living legend, a man who embraced the ideal that power has a destiny.

Movie Review:

We’ve all read the trashing made by the “professional” reviewers of how shortcoming this movie is. Complaining endlessly on how long it was, how bad the acting portrayed and especially to the homo-phobic of how gay the movie was, making Alexander a wimp rather then a conqueror. It was definitely no epic that it was hyped-up to be in all of the months before its release but people are trashing it like it's the worst movie ever made. I honestly don't think it was THAT bad. It’s just not spectacular as hoped for.

The issue of how long the movie dragged on is totally individualistic. Depending on how you like a movie with story-telling, those who live by Jerry Bruckheimer, may find inserts between battles, sleep inducing. Personally, if I didn’t look at my watch from beginning to end, timing for the show is good in my book.

The performances weren't Oscar worthy, but some of them were good, especially Colin Ferrell and Jared Leto. You can't deny the real chemistry between them in their relationship. Colin as Alexander, despite the harsh criticism of comparison with Troy and Braveheart, I believe its one of his best acting since Phone Booth. Sure, his performance at times seems too over the top causing him to look like a power crazed maniac but in denial, it was the moment that made what he did. If you want to talk about redundant acting, Rosario Dawson tops it. I know I‘ll be bashed by this but her character seems oddly placed and served no purpose. Although historic lines find so, Stone should have made her more purposeful other then an over longed sex scene. Age-defying Angelina Jolie seems to have a knack for acting as a manipulative character and does shine through in the movie. My only qualm about her is why she sounded like a Russian aristocrat then a Greek temptress. (Speaking of accents, anyone who is nit-picking on the bits of the movie will surely be appalled by the lack of one. Everyone seems to not sound like a Greek at all. But that’s just ranting anyway, and shouldn’t bother with the course of the story.)

In comparison with Oliver Stone’s work such as Platoon and Heaven & Earth, his directing seems to be getting into an experimental phase especially with its flashback near the end of the movie. It could have made more sense if he had just made the storyline linear but I guess he had his reasons which I didn’t get. But all of which we had known of, with so much material to cover - Alexander's noteworthy childhood, his tutelage with Aristotle, him conquering most of the known world that included numerous battles that might cover LOTR epic - Stone chose the most important points and highlighted them. Instead of filling us with three hours' worth of limb-hacking and gut-spewing, Stone built Alexander into a man with dreams, with weaknesses, into someone who was human, despite the legend surrounding him.

My only regret is the short time Stone spends depicting Hephaestion's death and Alexander's reaction to it since it was this direction of humanizing Alexander in the movie. While elsewhere in the film their friendship and love is well-shown, some of the most telling things about their relationship were in the way Alexander memorialized him after his death. Perhaps the large battle sequence in India could have been shortened and his fling with this male Persian courtesan eliminated (personally it was a little too much.) to make room for Alexander's grief over his friend. After all, Hephaestion's funeral, according to history, was the most grandiose in the entire history of the world, and Alexander spent a great bundle on the events. He sheared off all of his hair when the custom was only one lock, and spent a day and a night lying with the body, until he was forcibly removed. The movie skips over most of this, and only allows a short fit of rage in which Alexander almost strangles his wife, thinking she has poisoned him. It then quickly moves on to Alexander's own death, and the controversy surrounding that.

Not enough battle scenes? Possibly. Questionable accents? Definitely. A "too gay" portrayal of Alexander? Doubtful.

Movie Rating: B

Review by our web designer/columnist, Dgital

  Publicity Stills of "Alexander" (Courtesy from SHAW)

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