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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 Susan Granger
1 star out of 4

Writer/director Oliver Stone has delivered a Thanksgiving turkey, a over-stuffed historical epic that's arduously slathered with sappy symbolism and overt homosexuality and spiced with ambition, greed, jealousy, love, pain and betrayal. There's even a pinch of horse-whispering.

Structured as a history lesson dictated to scribes by Egypt's Ptolemy, Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.) led his armies victoriously against the Persian empire, west to Egypt and finally made his way to India's Punjab. By the age of 25, he had conquered almost the entire known world. Above all, he was a visionary who dreamed of uniting people with a common bond.

In the title role, Colin Farrell never quite wraps around his emotionally conflicted character. Both his blond wig and his lilting Irish accent prove disconcerting, as though the lad wandered in en route home from the pub. As his calculating, snake-fondling mother, Angelina Jolie is bizarre, affecting a Russian tone; most of her scenes border on ludicrous. Alexander's bride Rosario Dawson's intonations are almost indecipherable, as is Crateros' Rory McCann's thick Scottish burr. Val Kilmer fares better as Alexander's warrior father. Anthony Hopkins and Christopher Plummer are convincing, as is Jared Leto as Alexander's closest friend and one great love.

The real problem lies with Oliver Stone's lack of a cohesive, thematic vision. Instead, there's chaotic, spear-rattling, sword-and-scandals bloody butchery. Stone hammers the homosexuality theme, not only with nudity but also with many effeminate pretty-boy flirtations. The only truly exciting battle sequence is in exotic India with elephants. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Alexander" is an uninspired, repetitious, tedious 3. What a waste! It's too difficult to digest.

Copyright 2004 Susan Granger

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