Alexander (2004)


This movie is trying to be Braveheart. It only accomplishes being a really bad B grade version of the William Wallace classic. There are so many things wrong with it, none worse than the lead, Colin Farrell. He never even tries to hide his Irish accent during the film. Ordinarily this wouldn’t bother me, I have no problem with Kevin Costner’s Yankee accent in Robin Hood. For some reason though, the Irish accent here really bothers me. Although, it doesn’t bother me anywhere near as much as the wigs Farrell has to wear or the terrible bottle blonde dye job he’s sporting when he’s not wearing one of those awful wigs. I didn’t know there were hair salons in Ancient Greece.

Angelina Jolie plays Alexander’s mother, and her accent is also an issue. I can’t work out what she’s going for. It’s certainly not Greek, her accent sounds like a weird Russian/Italian hybrid, which is very out of place. Especially when her son sounds like he just stepped out of a Belfast pub. Val Kilmer plays Alexander’s father, and he seems to be enjoying himself chewing scenery every time he appears on screen. He’s one of the few positives in this film. Jared Leto plays Alexander’s best friend, and it’s strongly hinted these two were lovers. He is ok, but doesn’t really have much to do except swoon over Colin Farrell

I had a real problem with the pacing of this movie too. It was always jumping back and forth between time periods. One scene Alexander is ten, then he’s thirty, then it jumps back to when he’s 18. These time jumps are a problem, probably the biggest in the film. Just when you’re getting into Alexander’s story, the film jumps forward or back ten years to something completely different. The new scene usually has nothing to do with the one that preceded it, by the time director Oliver Stone gets back to the original scene you were interested in, you don’t really care anymore.

Like I said, this film is trying way too hard to be a Braveheart copy. Every chance he gets Colin Farrell is giving loud speeches to his troops in an obvious attempt to emulate Mel Gibson, but he just doesn’t have Mel’s charisma or delivery. The film is really gory too. I feel like the gore doesn’t serve a purpose either. I feel like it’s there only to shock the audience. Which it accomplishes, but not in a good way.

This was the first movie in my collection I genuinely did not want to watch. I’d have skipped it if I didn’t want to see this DVD watching expedition through to the end. I don’t even know why I own it. I first saw Alexander at the movies when it was released, and I fell asleep before it finished. I can only imagine this DVD was on sale somewhere and I snapped up a bargain. Now that I think about it, you do see Rosario Dawson’s breasticles throughout the film, perhaps that’s what convinced a horny 24 year old Benny D to grab this movie at the time. Although, I hope it was really cheap because I still can’t see this flick being worth much to me.

Rating: F

For a movie about someone who was dubbed “the Great,” this movie sure does suck.

Where to begin… Alexander is historically inaccurate, but honestly, that’s the least of its problems. It is overly long and incredibly boring given the remarkable life lead by the real Alexander III of Macedon. In a time when most people rarely ventured more than 20 miles from where they were born, Alexander led an army from Greece to India and back. Yet we are only given a glimpse of these cultures and conquests. Instead we are forced to endure too many overwrought flashbacks that hammer home the same two points: Alex’s mom was manipulative and power hungry, and his father was a distant jerk.

This movie simply tries too hard. It strives to replicate the epic storytelling and battles of a film such as Braveheart, but there is nothing particularly inspiring here. The narration provided by Anthony Hopkins is reminiscent of The Ten Commandments, but here the device falls incredibly short. The cinematography often echos Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator, but again, it only serves to remind the viewer of two vastly superior films (And honestly, I don’t even like Gladiator that much.).

But to me, the worst offense is Colin Ferrell’s Irish accent. Apparently because he was unable to loose it, other actors adopted quasi-Irish brogues as a stand in for Ancient Greek. I feel like maybe, just maybe, that’s a sign that you’ve cast the wrong actor.

Rating: F

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