Cast: Colin Farrell, Angelina Jolie, Val Kilmer, Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Plummer, Jared Leto, Rosario Dawson, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Brian Blessed
Director: Oliver Stone
Genre: Historical/Drama/War
Rated: MA 15+ medium level violence, medium level coarse language
Running Time: 175 Minutes

Fortune Favours The Bold

Oliver Stone's Alexander is based on the true story of one of history's most luminous and influential leaders (COLIN FARRELL) - a man who had conquered 90% of the known world by the age of 25. Alexander led his virtually invincible Greek and Macedonian armies through 22,000 miles of sieges and conquests in just eight years, and by the time of his death at the age of 32 had forged an empire unlike any the world had ever seen. The film takes a bold, honest look at Alexander's life and his relationships with his mother, Olympias (ANGELINA JOLIE), his father Philip (VAL KILMER), his lifelong friend and battle commander Hephaistion (JARED LETO), Roxane, his ambitious and beautiful Bactrian wife (ROSARIO DAWSON), and his trusted general and confidant Ptolemy (ANTHONY HOPKINS). Set in Alexander's pre-Christian world of social customs and morals far different from today's, the film explores a time of unmatched beauty and unbelievable brutality, of soaring ideals and staggering betrayals.

My Verdict:
After much hype, 'Alexander' is a big disappointment. Following 2004's 'Troy', there has been anticipation for this epic to start the year and hopes were high with legendary Oliver Stone directing, but somewhere something has gone awry. The story of Alexander The Great is just that - great, but in this case there is a real jumble of information that ends up being an overly long chaotic mess.

In order to try and convey the intricacies and details of Alexander's life, Anthony Hopkins relates the story on screen as an aged Ptolemy, and also in voice-over, Ptolemy being an eyewitness to Alexander's life as one of his 'band of merry men'. Alexander's life is told from early childhood through to his death at age 32, which is significant considering how much he achieved in that short time, which is where so many decisions would have had to be made regarding what to include and what to omit onscreen.

Alexander had a tumultuous relationship with both his parents, Philip and Olympias, which affected him enormously. They both had their own problems, which spilled over and affected Alexander to the point where it was obvious he was as confused as they were, all the while trying desperately to maintain his armies and conquer the known world. Alexander did have one special relationship with Hephaistion, another of his loyal followers, which is implied as being gay without comprehensive visual proof, which then affected his turbulent marriage to Roxanne, which in turn became frustrating when it didn't produce children as he desperately tried in vain for a successor. And this is just a picture of some of the relationship issues that are dealt with in the movie, let alone any of the battles that Alexander endured and voyages he lead.

Colin Farrell does ok as Alexander, even with some of this native Irish accent coming through. Val Kilmer tried hard considering some of the lines he has to deliver; the same can be said for Angelina Jolie as Olympias as some of her dialogue was pretty pitiful. It was hard to digest that Olympias never appeared to age even though the action takes place over 20+ years. Jared Leto as Hephaistion, spent much of his time looking wistfully at Alexander, while Rosario Dawson spent all her time trying her best to be the world's greatest bitch.

The battle scenes are bloody and spectacular and the costumes superb, but unfortunately these cannot make up for the script, which was untidy and often trite. Some of the dialogue is hard to decipher with some of the characters ending up being just faces on the screen - maybe they could have all worn nametags to make identification easier.

'Alexander' isn't that bad, but it just isn't good either, which is a great pity considering the historical of implications of such a great man.

Rating : C-

Christina Bruce


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