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2004, Dir. Oliver Stone
173 min. Rated R.
Starring: Colin Farrell, Iceman, Dr. Hannibal Lechter, The former Mrs. Billy Bob Thornton.

Review by Keith Nichols

Man, this weekend was pretty mild...

Went to see a movie though. ALEXANDER. Jeebus. YES, Oliver Stone, WE ALL KNOW that Alexander the Great was really a great pillow-biter and that this fact has been carefully skirted in other biographical movies such as the old Richard Burton version. Thank you for, in the name of historical accuracy, including some carefully scripted scenes to dramatically illustrate "the love that dares not speak it's name". Unfortunately you seem to have gotten help from some out-of-work Mexican-soap opera writers, so it was more an onscreen accident-waiting-to-happen than thoughtful character development. Some of the scenes in question were so dubious that my audience (suburban Atlanta) burst out laughing. Yes, they were homophobic pigs, but you had 'em in the palm of your hands, Ollie, until a couple of clumsy moments undid the cinematic spell and they just couldn't restrain themselves.

Then my girlfriend had to shush them. She actually had to shush somebody in a public theater. I didn't think people still did that, but... the tittering idiots wouldn't shut up. And all because you had to overplay the gay. Thank you.

Other than that, it was a decent movie I guess. I'm a big history-of-Alexander buff and I was already geeking-out alittle complaining beforehand about the big historical inaccuracy presented by: "Alexander's horse Bucephalus had a big eponymous white spot on it's head, but THAT horse is all black!" Nobody else would care, but... anyway... I'm a big buff, so I went to see "the Gordian Knot" incident, and the battle of Issus, and the Siege of Tyre, and the founding of Alexandria -- but actually none of that stuff was in the movie. Hmm. Wait a minute. Maybe it wasn't so decent. It started verrry slowly now that I think about it. Oliver Stone totally overdid the Oedipal stuff too. He overdid the "snakes as symbols showing up Everywhere" thing too. Why was there a distracting mix of Irish, English, and Scottish accents for all these Macedonians and then Angelina Jolie had some completely different (and awkward) Romanian one? No room in the $150,000,000 budget for a dialogue coach? And the score! What the hell is Vangelis doing trying to make 3rd Century B.C. Babylon sound like a bad, distracting redub of 20th Century "chariots of fire"? I bet Basil fricken Polidouris woulda done it right. Yeah. Maybe the movie wasn't so great. -Especially not on the heels of 'Troy'. You've got to raise the bar, man.

I loved the fighting and the hacking and the gore though. That was cool. I suppose we'd expect that from the screenwriter who brought us CONAN THE BARBARIAN. If only there had been more than two battles in a 3-hour movie devoted to a man who spent his whole life fighting. We did get some cool scythe chariots rending people into bits like HELLRAISER and some elephants curb-stomping people, but... not nearly enough. Maybe Oliver had no time to spare with all the gay and all the Oedipal and all the snakes.

Oh WAIT. I almost forgot. There WAS a rather unexpectedly titillating scene where Alexander takes Rosario Dawson to wife and she's all frontal and backal and frontal nudity and such. FINE woman, that Ms. Dawson. Fine woman. Mmmm-hmmmmm. Yeah. Blood and breastesses. Maybe the movie Was great after all.


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