zero stars (out of 5)
November 24, 2004
Colin Farrell as ALEXANDER
Angelina Jolie as OLYMPIAS
Val Kilmer as PHILIP
Anthony Hopkins as PTOLEMY
Rosario Dawson as ROXANE
Christopher Plummer as ARISTOTLE
Studio: Warner Bros.
Directed by: Oliver Stone
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
The most excruciating experience I have ever had in my life was passing a kidney stone. If you’ve had them, you’ll understand. And believe it or not, kidney stones are worse in men. You see, men actually endure more pain when passing a kidney stone because, on average, a man’s ureter (which is where the pain originates as the stone passes to the bladder) is 1/3 longer than a woman’s.
There’s nothing that quite compares to the pain of passing a kidney stone… except perhaps Oliver Stone’s “Alexander.”
Now, I’ve seen some awful movies in my time. “Solaris”… “Grind”… “Gigli”… and even this year’s “Wicker Park.” But if these films are the cinematic equivalent of kidney stones for women, “Alexander” is like kindey stones for men. It’s worse because it’s longer.
As I struggled through the film, I fought to find something redeeming in the mess. But there was nothing. Not one thing.
Oh, sure, it was nice to see Rosario Dawson flopping around in the nude, but one look at her enormous bosom made me add another thing to the list of historical inaccuracies… they didn’t have silicone in 300 BC
I’ll pass on the array of puns sure to be made about this movie, like “Alexander the Not So Great” or “Alexander the Terrible.” Suffice to say that this movie is one stinking pile of poop. I don’t know how else to express myself.
Let’s break things down, shall we…
ACTING. There were glimmers of decent acting. Angelina Jolie was surprisingly decent, and it was nice to see her do an accent other than British. And although many have criticized the fact that she’s playing Colin Farrel’s mother, that’s the least of the film’s problems. Val Kilmer was embarrassingly bad. But even then he was overshadowed by Colin Farrel ludicrous performance. Whenever he screamed in the heat of war or with grief, the folks in the theater just laughed. And the ever-classy Anthony Hopkins had a wasted part as the old Ptolemy, just droning on and on with speech after speech.
CINEMATOGRAPHY. Oliver Stone has become more focused on the look of his films rather than their content ever since he really started to apply experimental filmmaking techniques to his work in the early 1990s. But there’s no way to work in black-and-white newsreel footage for a story about a Greek hero. He switches out film stocks, most notably in the laughable final battle in India. But these are nothing but gimmicks here and do nothing to further the film.
STORY. What story? You’ll get more understandable characterization and drama if you just crack the pages of Encyclopedia Britannica. The story can be summed up as speech… speech… drunken orgy… speech… incomprehensible battle footage… speech… gay undertones… speech… sexy dancing… speech… more drinking… speech… need I go on? Bob Guccione’s cinematic abortion “Caligula” was a work of art compared to this.
EDITING. Was there any?. Of sure, footage was assembled, but they skipped the whole step of editing the film into a humane time frame.
DIRECTING. Unfortunately, this was about what I expected from Oliver Stone.
I’d like to write more, but I fear I’ll fall into a deep depression if I think about this film any more. And my health insurance might not cover the doctor’s bill.