|Filmbrain is having a difficult time understanding the overwhelming negative response to Oliver Stone's Alexander. Though an admitted Stone apologist, he genuinely found the three-hour epic extremely entertaining, and far better than other recent sword-and-sandal ventures. Sure, the casting is a bit odd, but the resulting performances are far better than expected. Filmbrain paid close attention to the screenplay which, while perhaps a bit purple at times, was not as puerile as others have claimed. Still, Ptolemy's (Anthony Hopkins) "Alexander was never defeated, except by Hephaistion's thighs" is a bit cringe inducing.|
The politics of the film are quite interesting. Several right-wing journalists have accused Stone of hypocrisy -- if Alexander's invasion of the Middle East was justified, why not Bush's? This argument is not even worthy of discussion, but the film goes on to show how Alexander was (to some) a benevolent despot who was quite generous in his victories. However, like Bush, he suffers from not having a well thought-out exit strategy. (Perhaps Stone's decision to portray Alexander as a confused bisexual was a way of ensuring the right didn't embrace him as one of their own.) Those who accuse Stone of turning the film into a leftist polemic due to its openly gay themes need to relax a bit. Even the posse of Greek lawyers has dropped their case against the film.
Alexander is not one of the year's greatest films, and maybe not much more than a guilty pleasure, but the combination of giant film + giant theater + giant popcorn on a rainy Monday resulted in a rewarding movie going experience. Even the hodgepodge of odd accents and occasional scenery chewing didn't take away from this cinematic delight. Oh -- an aside to the fellow film patron who seemed to be enjoying himself a bit too much during Rosario Dawson's nude scene -- next time, wait for the DVD, ok?)