The hate that many film-goers have developed on this 150-million-dollar epic, I can not quite understand. To many conservative Americans was bisexuality an eyesore and also many Greeks wanted to banish the bisexuality of their own history of misunderstood patriotism. Others simply do not bring to the patient 176 minutes in the cinema to sit. Still others simply hate Oliver Stone and enjoy it when the provocateur falls on his nose. Yes, he falls. His great dream, his epic art film does not meet the expectations.
But I prefer to see a great vision (almost) fail as a verkünstelter nonsense or to number-sure-go movie. I have Troy after much back and forth devalued to 3½ star, while I "Alexander" increased by as long rags to 4. The reason? Troy is stringent, entertaining and has Brad Pitt. But it is, as I wrote then in the criticism, a rather hemdsärmliges work. Alexander, however, is a bold vision of an excessive filmmaker. Much of the epic devours the common cineaste with pleasure, otherwise almost mistaken. But there's more to life in this film as in Troy - and more passion. It is the "beefier" humane film - despite much theatrics.
But first to the scaffold. The plot is rolled up from the old Ptolemy (Anthony Hopkins), who rules in the Egyptian city of Alexandria as Pharaoh and his scribe Alexander story, as far as he can remember. Because he was in his early years with Alexander go. Ptolemy tells Alexander was born in July 356 BC. His mother Olympias (Angelina Jolie), a princess from Epirus, his father Phillip II (Val Kilmer), the king of Macedonia. The parents are at odds, why Alexander bond with the mother in childhood is stronger than the father. Olympias, who wanted to make her son into the ultimate ruler of the world wants to seduce him to intrigue, his father sees him more as a weakling of impure blood.
In Mieza Alexander and his Hetairen of Aristotle (Christopher Plummer) are taught. Here Alexander's friendship is deepened to Hephaestion. Years later, Alexander (Colin Farrell) 19 years old and learns that his father wants to marry again, to bear witness to a new heir. Olympias seething. 336 Phillip of Pausanias is murdered. Who was behind it, is not fully understood, but Alexander is now king. It consolidates the throne and moved to the east to continue the war his father: against the Persians.
With nearly 40,000 men he defeated at Gaugamela the three times as strong army of the Great King Darius III (Raz Degan). Alexander pulls as a celebrated hero in Babylon. But he wants to go to the east. He takes up the pursuit of Darius, who is soon murdered by his own men. Farther and farther to the northeast penetrate Alexander's troops and subdue barbarian tribes. Alexander married the "barbarian" Roxane (Rosario Dawson) and thus upset not only his lover Hephaistion (Jared Leto). After crossing the Hindukush, Alexander combat effectiveness to the equipped with elephants Indian princes seem to fail ...
Since Alexander's story has many gaps, consisted of Stone always room for interpretation. He can and he does well. Otherwise there are many historically quite guaranteed elements in the film. Even the diffuse motivation of Alexander is provable. His transformation from idealistic world combiner towards the almost possessed. Stone still brings in other aspects: escape from the mother to emulate the heroism of Achilles and his father. All this brings "Alexander" (the movie) is not just focus, if even the central figure does not know really what she wants.
The conflict between the divine, heroic and human begins Stone Although a good, but the film loses its dramatic power. If he had his protagonist make it easier? Heroic? Hardly, because he is on a post-modern epic, in which the hero can be mama's boy sometimes, sometimes crying baby, sometimes lover, sometimes blinded. Not for nothing can be the Stone "the Great" from the title away, not as the more honest "Alexander the Great" (1956) with Richard Burton.
As I said: The person of Alexander is through this film hardly comprehensible - but perhaps even more intriguing. This is in the nature of things. How can anyone have conquered with 32 years a large part of the known world, the history itself is far from asking. And "Alexander" is it only limited answers. If the film is therefore bad? Absolutely not.
But he is definitely too long. I like to sit three hours in the cinema when it is worth, but in "Alexander", the drama comes here and there to a standstill. Stones approach to let his characters occur theatrical, makes things even more strenuous, gives the events but almost Shakespearean qualities. Massive dialogues full of pathos, screaming actors, big gestures - that works when you're getting into it.
Otherwise, the film degenerates to Freakshow. Biggest sinner is Angelina Jolie, who charged between diabolical grin, lustful, incestuous love and obsession, almost to a trooper. Medusa meets Bette Davis meets Gertrude ("Hamlet"). But I liked this approach on my part. Even the absurd choice of dialects did not bother me. Jolie played indeed an alleged Barbarin, so they may speak different from the well-behaved Alexander - who now hold has a brogue. Who on target.
Colin Farrell therefore retains its language and plays accordingly quite well. He lacks the seriousness of Russell Crowe and the reasons why, one wonders why he has been such a great general. But that's what I found appealing: Alexander is not a mythical superman, but a clever, energetic tactician. The first battle against Darius is wonderful threaded and thereby cemented his status. He is almost chosen as the son of the gods, a status to which he quarrels increasingly and eventually brought him to ruin.
I found Colin's performance therefore quite fitting. Equally convincing is Val Kilmer as his scarred, something profane Daddy. Jared Leto is rather bland as Lover. More sensuality would penetrate place. Rosario Dawson gets a good sex scene that emanates animalistic lust and desire, but after that it loses potential. Anthony Hopkins remains faded because his role as narrator does not need drama and dramatic fairly inexpensive.
The emotions are suppressed somewhat by the theatricality of the game. Unfortunately, those of Alexander. His love for Hephaestion is clarified only in hugs and superficial declarations of love. With Rosario Dawson for sex there - probably a concession to the US audience that could not make friends with a bisexual hero, although Lustknäbchen and the like were anything but a rarity in ancient times. This makes Stone fortunately clearly one reason why "Alexander" meaty acts as "Troy" - and organic.
Apart from the Sex and the drinking bouts, it is also the imagery. Stone grabbed for once not on his cinematographer Robert Richardson back, but on Rodrigo Prieto, who was allowed filming Angelina already in "Original Sin" sexy (and where it is, incidentally, spit in the face, here it must itself spit). Prieto turns less epic than it would have done Richardson, but the full is the film in particular at the Babylon-scenes to Good. Such images one has rarely seen in a historical epic. CGI mixed with green, lush sets and revives a fabulous city.
The battles are no less impressive. Unfortunately, there are only two large, but both great. The first against Darius lives of the strategy and the blood. Not so rough such as "Braveheart" because here the camera often shakes, but the kinetic effect is substantial. The battle in India is even better. Extremely bloody through the use of elephants - and almost surreal. One of the best settings (the Money Shot) shows Alexander's horse against an elephant up.
Because finally Oliver Stone visible because there is a feeling ecstatic, as we know it from Stone in "The Doors" and "Natural Born Killers". At the boldly-cool section of "JFK" remembers "Alexander" rare. Rather to the Doors, to NBK and perhaps "Platoon" - but unfortunately this brings Stone style rarely. At most the central theme when dealing with power and reverence. This translated into images such as those in India or with a number of cuts to counter predators and animalistic behavior. That's Stone, which is an organic, almost spherical epic.
But this technique is not always stop at. More than three hours you want something more substantial, something more drive, a little more hand and foot. Alexander is in a certain way a lifted, almost experimental historic film, which is extremely attractive, but not totally convincing. The worst is perhaps that Stone cannot decide correctly between hero worship and vulgar postmodern deconstruction. He thereby falls no man's land, leaving many spectators at just the feeling that the film was diffuse and lacking in narrative focus. Might be.
But he fascinated me very much. Maybe because in me still puts the former history student and I prefer to see such an ambitious epic as a new chamber piece from Uzbekistan. "Alexander" is big, bold, visionary, erotic, Off The Hook, lengthy, sprawling theater with theatrical actors and much much pathos. Who does not like, will be angry for three hours.