Sunday 26 December 2004

Alexander (2004) - ickleReview (cinema)

Oliver Stone version of the legend of Alexander the Great, King of Macedonia and conqueror of the known world - well, from Persia to the east of India, anyway. Stone remains an impressive storyteller; Colin Farrell, who plays Alexander, as flexible as ever; Anthony Hopkins, a stage actor's performance as Ptolemy, who functions as the narrator in between prolonged flashbacks. Stone also gives time and space for good female roles: to Angelina Jolie as Alexander's mother, Olympias; and to Rosario Dawson as Roxane, his Persian wife - both of whom hold considerable influence over him.

Stone's treatment complicates the myth, showing how a mortal human can adopt god-like renown. There's a refreshing readjustment of our modern Western value system: Alexander has both male and female lovers. The only prejudice against his male lovers is that they will not bear him an heir.

There are also some significant coded references to the conflicts of today: the Persian ruler is chased away into the mountains, yet is still said to have the emotive power over his people of an Osama Bin Laden. And when the Alexandrian army enters Babylon (in what is now called Iraq), the native people are made to like them. The rapturous reception given by the conquered is left unexplained.

Nugget: compares very favourably to Gladiator. The epic is in revival.

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