by: Quintus Aurelius Orcus
Released by Warner Home Video
Cast: Colin Farrell, Angelina Jolie, Rosario Dawson, Val Kilmer, Anthony Hopkings, Jared Leto
Well, what can I say about a movie so much talked about? There can be one thing said about this movie and that is that Oliver Stone had a difficult task at hand portraying Alexander as he was thought to be, not how people nowaydays tend to think he was.
If you look at the cast, you can see that this movie had everything to be a huge success; a great cast, great story and terrific battle scenes. I wonder why so many people don't like this movie. I thought critics would love it for the more accurate portrayal of ancient Greece and Alexander. The characters are more human than what we see in Troy. But the critics were more critical of Alexander than of Troy. Most critics bash Alexander. And most people tend to agree with them. After all, Oliver Stone had to put Alexander's life on screen in a 3-hour-long movie. Granted, you can only do so much with movies, because it is a limited medium. The books by Valerio Massimo Manfredi as an example of how it could be done. But this is a time where most people don't have much time to read or don't like to read at all and prefer to see a movie. And in my opinion, this is a movie, you have to know something about the history of Alexander the Great in order to follow it.
This is also a movie where one must shed their ideas on Alexander the Great, because this Alexander is far more realistic than anything I have seen so far. In my opinion, this movie is better than Gladiator. Here may lie the problem for so many people. In a sword and sandal movie like Troy or Gladiator, we are not used to seeing the hero of the movie to be bisexual, emotional and at times paranoid and delusional. Colin Farrell clearly shows his acting skills here as the deeply troubled, passionate Alexander who has the dream to conquer the known world. And he did. Olympias, the mother of Alexander (played by Angelina Jolie) is exactly how I thought her to be; spiteful, passionate and obsessed with her son and his rise to power. She would do almost anything to make sure that her son gets the throne, but would not kill Philippus to do so...even though she was rumored to be behind it. Than again, Philippus had many enemies among the Greeks, Persians and even his fellow Macedonians. Olympias did kill Philippus' new wife and newborn son to make sure that the throne would go to Alexander and nothing would challenge his power. One downside of the entire movie is: the accents. The fake British and Russian accents, among others, are annoying at best.
What was great was that Oliver Stone did not try to explain how Alexander really died since there is much debate about it. One thing we do know is that Alexander had a role to play in the events leading up to his death. He drank far to much wine. When he was sick, he ordered the doctors to give him the medicine to cure him in higher doses than permitted. Alexander risked his life by trying to cheat death and heal quicker, a fatal flaw on his part. All of this was not shown in the movie itself. I may have mentioned it earlier. This is not a movie for everyone to enjoy. This is not your standard action/adventure movie where it's full of battle scenes and all. No, in the 3 hours, only a few battle scenes are shown and what they show is truly amazing. Oliver Stone overdid himself in these sequences. But between the battle scenes and the drama, there is much dialogue about the world, politics, etc...
I can understand why so many people and critics were disappointed with this portrayal of Alexander's life. It is totally different from the rest that comes out of Hollywood. Thank the Gods that there are still filmmakers who dare to challenge the accepted standards by making movies like Alexander, and Oliver Stone's movies have certainly been movies which challenge the viewer to be more critical. I had run-ins with the negative reviewers of Alexander. Several themes show up in their complaints about this movie: religion, sexuality and ideals of how a hero or Ancient Greece is like. From the moment it went into production, this movie has stirred up controversy about the bisexuality of Alexander among other things. All I can say is, watch the movie yourself and judge it for yourself.