ALEXANDER || 2004, Germany / USA / Netherlands / France / UK / Italy || Biopic || Directed by – Oliver Stone / Written by – Oliver Stone, Christopher Kyle, Laeta Kalogridis / Produced by – Moritz Borman, Kans de Weers, Matthias Deyle, Léonard Glowinski, Pierre Grunstein, John Kilik, Michael Maker, Aslan Nadery, Tabrez Noorani, Gianni Nunnari, Santa Prestonji, Raul Rassam, Pravesh Sahni, Volker Schauz, Thomas Schuhly, Iain Smith, Christian Stibbe, Fernando Sulichin, Robert S. Wilson / Music by – Vangelis / Cinematography by – Rodrigo Prieto / Editing by – Yann Hervé, Gladys Joujou, Alex Marquex, Thomas J. Nordberg / Production Design by – Jan Roelfs / Starring – Colin Farrell, Angelina Jolie, Val Kilmer, Jared Leto, Rosario Dawson, Anthony Hopkins / Running time: 175 mins.
Alexander might have been Oliver Stone’s masterpiece; instead, it is a flat out disappointment. Before this film, Stone had rewardingly dealt with heroism and famous figures in spectacular and introspective ways. More than that, he had often successfully humanized his characters with great intelligence. The same cannot be said about his depiction of Alexander the Great.
Stone appears to be as interested in the philosopher king as a charismatic conquerer as he is about the bisexual young male. More than that, the incestuous undercurrents of the film, explored in Alexander’s ambiguous relationship with his over-protective mother – who insists that he is the son of Zeus – stretches the boundaries of the portrayal even further, though only awkwardly. Overall, what is most underwhelming about this is the these two sides of the portrayal don’t blend together. There are structural flaws in the screenplay, and even the dialogue, sometimes cringe worthy doesn’t help. Strangely, Colin Farrell is also unconvincing, seemingly unable to get into character and therefore making matters worse.
However, certain elements show that the film could have been something else. Rodrigo Prieto’s symbolic cinematography is left exposed by the ill-advised narration, but is still a delight. The musical score by Vangelis is appropriately atmospheric. Even the production design, by Jan Roelfs, is worthy of consideration, following in the tradition of classic Hollywood sword and sandal spectacles. Nevertheless, Alexander as a whole is widely forgettable and, at an implausible near 3 hours in length, exhausting for all the wrong reasons. – 2/5