I do wish Oliver Stone would do things like Natural Born Killers, Platoon… things that he can do. I’m saddened by the fact that nobody told him a film like Alexander was beyond his reach. It turns out to have been, unquestionably so. Oh, wait… the grandiosity, the betrayal by silence of those surrounding him… I get it, dude. Alexander is a kind of mirror reflection of Stone himself. This movie is a self-portrait. Trying to conquer the world with his unique vision. Perhaps he believes the kind of rhetoric he puts in Alexander’s mouth about making an empire to connect the cities of the world, to foster freedom. I mean, does anyone believe that? And when Stone’s “Old Ptolemy”, played by Anthony Hopkins, opts to go with rhetoric and bullshit instead of the truth, all is lost. Stone seems to be saying, “We need myth, because… because, well, we need it.” For what? To reconcile ourselves to what we know, deep down, we’re really like? In order to make the wars we let our politicians start seem more palatable? Why do we need myths of great men, Oliver? Why do we need to call our biggest thugs heroes? Oh, wait, I think I know. It’s because if we don’t, enthusiasm for the current war (circa 2004) will flag, and
The critics seem to have missed the point. What was needed was more grandness and much less grandiosity, that’s what was necessary to make the story work. And for heaven’s sake, audiences, this film had barely any homosexual overtones at all. Greek lawyers angry? How bloody stupid! The whole world knows that sexuality was different in the ancient world. Well, the parts of the world where people still read books, instead of watching trashy films like this. And what is this “homosexual” business? Alexander was clearly depicted as bisexual, which was what he was, and that was how a fair number of men seemed to behave sexually, too. So what? This is just history. Most of the critics seem to have missed why this film was a waste of time, I find. The critics I sympathize with are the Iranian ones who pointed out how bloody silly the depiction of both Greek and Persian armies was. Yeah, I’m going to believe that the Persians — the freaking Persians — were as slipshod as that? And Stone wasn’t even in the pay of Alexander, it’s just blindness on his part. Gotta throw in that echo to the barbaric Muslims of the Crusades, from whom Darius’ armies were, in this film, visually indistinguishable. Which, you know, have been showing up in a lot of movies since the Iraq war, those hordes of infidels. Someone wrote, on one of the IMDB boards, that Stone is “too American”, and the response was, “He tells (mostly) American tales for American people. Can’t blame a guy for being American, you know?” That’s true, I suppose…. but I can (and do) criticize him for imposing America onto a story like Alexander. It’s just inane. One can’t make a patriotically American film about a Macedonian Emperor who conquered most of the known world. One just can’t. You end up with… junk.
I can think of one reason to watch this. If you want to know more about Alexander’s life but aren’t able to get your hands on a proper book. But really: a worthwhile biopic of Alexander the Great has not yet been made.
This is crossposted to my AllConsuming account, as usual for film reviews.