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movie review out of 4 Movie Review: Alexander

Starring: Colin Farrell, Angelina Jolie
Director: Oliver Stone
Rated: R
RunTime: 173 Minutes
Release Date: November 2004
Genres: War, Action, Drama

*Also starring: Val Kilmer, Anthony Hopkins, Jared Leto, Rosario Dawson, John Rhys-Davies, Gary Stretch, Ian Beattie, Rory McCann, Erol Sander, Christopher Plummer, Connor Paolo, Joseph Morgan

Review by Steve Rhodes
1 star out of 4

Oliver Stone's ALEXANDER is a 3-hour borefest that takes you back to the time when a band of pretty boys, led by Alexander the Great Looking, conquered the known world. Appearing like models fresh from a GQ fashion shoot, Alexander's men followed him wherever he commanded, which is surprising since Colin Farrell's Alexander is such a wimpy warrior that most people wouldn't follow him across the street much less across continents.

Although Farrell makes Alexander into a lifeless leader, he is convincing as a bisexual -- a "fact" in historical dispute -- and is quite able to get in touch with his feminine side. This movie version leaves no doubt about Alexander's real sexual preference since his one big sex scene, which occurs between Alexander and his first wife, Roxane (Rosario Dawson), is a violent cross between a rape and a boxing match. The intensity of his love for Hephaestion (Jared Leto), although nothing is shown physically, is never in any doubt.

You might think that the movie needs to be long since it has a lot of ground to cover, but you'd be wrong. Almost nothing happens in the tedious and rambling first hour of the movie, other than to confuse the audience with random historical facts mixed in with bizarre episodes. The weirdest and most pointless of these happens in a cave where Alexander's father, King Philip (Val Kilmer), takes Alexander to teach him little life lessons by using the cave paintings as instructional aids. You'll probably feel like running out of the movie at this point, thinking this bland blockbuster is about to drive you nuts with its drivel. If you feel like this, do not resist the urge. You will have saved several hours of your life and can gloat later when you see your friends who stuck it out.

Oliver Stone never even gives us any reason to care about anyone on the screen, which is perhaps good since it's never clear who is who in the confusing battles. The best rule is to root for the clean shaven as they seem to be able to beat the bearded ones every time.

And then there is dialog, which include such homilies as "A king must know how to hurt those he loves," and "Beware of men who think too much." Thinking too much is not something done often in ALEXANDER, which is more about posing, posturing and pouting.

Brad Pitt in TROY was a disappointment, but his performance and that film were both masterpieces of modern cinema compared to ALEXANDER, a pretentious picture that is one of the worst movies of the year.

ALEXANDER runs a stupefyingly long 2:55. It is rated R for "violence and some sexuality/nudity" and would be acceptable for most teenagers.

Copyright 2004 Steve Rhodes

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