Oliver Stone’s Alexander is not as bad as the critics say. Val Kilmer and Angelina Jolie both give sterling performances. Jolie as a parody of her kooky media persona and Kilmer as a twisted and tortured Dad to Colin Farrell. The cinematography is spectacular and the fight scenes are an equal to the opening scene of Gladiator.
Audiences may be confused by the way the plot twists backwards and forwards in time, narrated by Anthony Hopkins. The film alluded to the way the ancient world was governed by omens (looking at cattle entrails to figure out the future) and featured an eagle motif throughout the film. These devices whilst interesting to film studies students muddy the plot for Joe Sixpack, so do not expect Academy Awards. The Greeks were said to be offended for the implication in the film that Alexander is bisexual, actually the film shoves his bisexuality in your face. It is to Greek machismo what the more graphic scenes in Midnight Express were to Turkish masculinity.
Alexander’s legacy has been cleansed and polished by time and Stone tried to make him human and put his successes and failures in perspective, the film feels that it has lost a bit of direction and some of the illustrative effects like maps on a rippling background and Alexander’s delirium near death made it seem more like an acid trip. It will be interesting to see whether audiences grow more receptive to this film with time, I hope so as I believe that it has been unfairly written off by the critics.