Article Title:Alexander the Great
Author or Credit:Geoff Bird and Jay Bennie
Published on:28th January 2005 - 12:00 pm
Story ID:589
Text:Alexander Dir: Oliver Stone Starring Colin Farrell, Angelina Jolie, Anthony Hopkins, Jared Leto "Try to say something nice to begin with," a supervising editor once suggested when advising how to kick off reviewing a really crap movie. So we'll follow his advice and say up front that in Oliver Stone's latest opus, Alexander, King Darius of Persia (Raz Degan) is absolutely beautiful and many of the settings, especially the scenic bits filmed in Morocco, are absolutely stunning. Other than that Alexander is an expensive piece of old rubbish, with nothing to say, some shudderingly awful performances, confusingly plotted and with some of the most amateurish blue-screen effects since the first series of Doctor Who on the small screen. Colin Farrell, as the great Greek (or Macedonian?) leader Alexander, mopes about bewildered and miscast, showing none of the charisma and dynamism that must have been required to drive a rag-tag army onwards and onwards assembling the biggest empire in the then-known world. When Farrell gets revved up he seems just one step removed from a football hooligan... shouting and bellowing does not represent anyone's idea of powerful oratory. And what his ‘lover and soulmate' Hephaistion (Jared Leto) sees in him is anyone's guess. Alexander's passionless persona seems to extend to their dumbed down relationship which sees Hephaistion left lurking in the background while Alexander beds ladies for political purposes all the while telling Hephaistion he would be nothing without him. Sigh. The casting is generally odd, Angelina Jolie plays Alexander's mum, Olympia, like something straight out of a Dracula movie and although the movie spans around 25 years she doesn't age a second. Mind you, neither does the powerful steed presented to the 8 year old Alexander... 25 years later it's still going strong, sleek and undiminished. Poor old Anthony Hopkins narrating his way through the confusing tangle of flashbacks, time-flips and setting changes surely only turned up to get through his lines and collect the cheque. The rest of the cast are uninspiring with a bewildering array of accents including Scottish and Irish tones that constantly irritate. There's much more to trash about this waste of three hours but we'll pick out just three more of the many aspects that disappointed: Babylon seemingly designed by an American decorator to the rich and tasteless, the Vangelis music that sounds like every other Vangelis track you've ever heard, and the most outrageous use of eye makeup (on male and female cast members) since Norma Desmond was ready for her close-up. We hoped to like this movie, we wanted to be impressed with one of history's great gay icons, but were glad when the battle of Hydaspes was over, just about everyone was dead and we could go for a coffee. Geoff Bird and Jay Bennie - 28th January 2005    
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