Wednesday, December 8, 2004



Born in 356 BC in Pella, Macedonia Alexander conquered almost all of Egypt, overthrew the Persian Empire, then moved farther and farther east, expanding the limits of the world, while remaking the world in his image. He continued all the way to India until turning back. In Babylon, while busy with plans to improve the irrigation of the Euphrates river, he was taken ill after a prolonged banquet and drinking bout. Ten days later, he died in his 33rd year; he had reigned for 12 years and eight months. His body, diverted to Egypt by Ptolemy, was eventually placed in a golden coffin in Alexandria (it has never been found). Both in Egypt and elsewhere he received divine honours. Even during his lifetime the subject of fabulous stories, he later became the hero of a full-scale legend bearing only the sketchiest resemblance to his historical career.

Colin Farrell: Alexander the Great
Anthony Hopkins: Ptolemy who narrates Alexander's life while teaching students about his former commander
Val Killer: Alexander’s brutal father, the one-eyed King Philip II
Angolan Jolly: Alexander’s bossy mother, Queen Olympias
Jared Alto: Hephaistion boyhood friend, fellow soldier and favourite of Alexander
Rosario Dawson: Roxane, one of Alexander’s wives

Even the most dedicated amateur historian will find this movie insufferable. It is too long (almost 3 hours), with interminable lengthy speeches on very esoteric subjects. Not only that, the movie is poorly constructed with a very important event in Alexander’s life (the death of his father) which is referred to any number of times, but not shown until eight years after it took place. Showing this flashback and hour or so too late makes no sense. But these are only minor complaints.

The major problem with the film is that there is simply too much narrative and not enough action. Queen Olympias had it right when she cautioned her son, “Beware of men who talk too much.”

You’ve been warned.

for violence, some sexuality and nudity

Queen Olympias has a beauty mark over her right eye. In one of the many scenes where she is lecturing Alexander, it has moved over to her left eye.

There are so many times when scratches and scars come and go that it is impossible to catalogue them all.

Oliver Stone’s reputation was made on fine films like “Platoon” and “JFK”. It’s quite something to discover he is capable of making such a dull movie.

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