Sunday, December 05, 2004

Alexander: A review

The longest, gayest movie ever. Ok, technically it was just bi-sexual. There are some interesting things Christians can pull from the viewing of this movie. The prominent one being the total depravity of man. Anyone complaining about the state of our society, or bitching about George Bush being a ‘tyrant’ should see what a real conquering marauder was. One thing the movie attempts to answer is the Why? Why was Alexander driven to slaughter his way across the known world? What kind of mindset and worldview would glorify that? There is a scene where his father is leading a young Alexander through some catacombs with horrendous painting of mortals being tormented by their Grecian gods. Oedipus ripping his eyes out, the guy getting his liver eaten out by crows, etc. His father tells him that it doesn’t matter how great you are, the gods will have you. Pain is inevitable. In another scene, Aristotle is teaching Alexander about the inherent superiority of the Greeks over their Persian neighbors. Alexander blithely asks, “Well then why haven’t we conquered them?” These scenes, along with his very dysfunctional parents seem to be an attempt at showing why a guy would decide to conquer the world. All of this overshadowed, however, by the complete lack of respect for human life and dignity that pervade the entire film. I’m not counting that against it either, by all accounts, that’s the way it was. The drunken orgies, rape, murder, etc. They are all displayed. Repeatedly. One thing you defiantly come away from the movie with is a sense of how gross ancient Greek culture was. I think this is a good counterbalance to the faceless historical view of them as the civilization of progress and world unity. Even in a relatively sanitized cinematic version, you can see the satanic influences throughout the story and the world Alexander inhabited.
The majority of the drama in the movie was derived from Alexander’s purported bisexuality. His best friend and lover is constantly fawning over him the whole time. He takes a lot of lingering looks at his beautiful bath-boy, and jealousy ensues. He marries so he can have a son. I had to suffer through a really ridiculous “love” scene that lurches through jealousy, betrayal, murderous rage, rape, submittal, mercy, and somehow ends up in passion. I thought my eyes were going to roll out of my head. Just like when Alexander shows his true multicultural appreciation when he denounces his officers for not having enough respect for a culture far older than their own. Yes, that was his justification for marrying a woman from a state they just conquered.
Overall the movie was a disaster. The rampant hedonism and brutality, while based on reality, is a lot to take for 3 hours of vivid, visual reinforcement. The flow of the movie was a complete mess. Narrations, flashbacks, stilted cuts, and random abbreviations made it seem more like a Michael Moore propaganda flick than an epic war movie. A laughable diversity of accents didn’t help. Why some Greeks sounded Scottish, others British, American, or Estonian, was never explained. There were some good performances, excellent music, and neat battles. But not nearly enough to make up for the floundering, bombastic mess that the rest of Alexander is.

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