Oliver Stone's epic biography of Alexander the ''Great'', who conquered most of the world known to the Greeks by the time he was 25. A brilliant military general, he was driven to achieve greatness by his complex personal relationships. The film has aroused some controversy over its depiction of Alexander's bisexual nature, which was very common in his day and age.
176 minutes, No persons under 13 (Violence, Sex)
Action, Adventure, Drama, War
Ian Douglas: Before I get to the movie, let me first state that I believe part of the problem with our modern world is that we
are taught that genocidal mass murderers like Alexander were ''Great''. Children should rather be correctly taught that such men
were evil, not great. Idolising perpetuators of crimes against humanity creates the ideal cultural environment for modern leaders
to repeat the horror, as is now happening in Iraq.
As to the movie itself, well, on the positive side, the production values were excellent, as were the fake settings like Babylon. The war
scenes were very realistic and generally well staged, though I found the action during them very confusing. Now, on the downside...
the storyline is a mix of ''character study'' and ''road trip'', neither of which are particular favourites of mine. The movie
is also incredibly talky, to the point where you wish they would shut up and get on with the story.
Much of what Alexander did is glossed over in summary, leaving us instead with multiple scenes of Alex having intimate
conversations with his mother and male lover. These fall into the ''character study'' part and are mostly boring. The numerous
battles — around 40 or so — are skipped over, we only get to see two decisive ones. This leaves us with war and
talking, mainly, which does not really make for an engrossing movie.
Some critics have lambasted Farrel's performance, but I thought all the male leads did okay, even if Kilmer was almost
over the top much of the time. The female leads, however, fared poorly. Both were made up to look uglier than they naturally are,
and had to talk in ridiculous accents, bringing their roles to the point of ridicule. I have no idea what Stone thought he was
The movie *is* long, and since it's a road trip (Alex travels from Macedonia to India), there's not really much point apart from the
scenery. The script writers throw in commentary trying to understand some of Alex's decisions like why he married the women he did,
but fail to find the reason, which was obvious for me to see — Alex wanted to unite West and East, and wanted an heir to rule
both, who was *of* both — hence the need for Asian wives, which his fellow travellers (and modern historians, it seems) could not grasp.
So where does that leave us? The movie educated me, assuming that it is historically accurate. But is it a good *movie*? No,
it is average on that score. Vangelis did his usual good work on the score, though, and the sweeping cinematography is great.