Reader review: Alexander

Friday, December 3, 2004

Matt Beckner, student, Lawrence




"His failures tower over other men's successes," a scholar says of Alexander the Great (a miscast Colin Farrell). That same phrase applies to writer-director Oliver Stone, who hits his career nadir with an embarrassing period piece that is boring, overly long, confusing, implausible and incapable of creating a single engaging character.

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I respect Oliver Stone as a director, so I can only hope he was purposefully trying to drain all entertainment value out of "Alexander." He must have intended to play out some kind of homoerotic fantasy with a confusing plot, a laughable cast and a string of disappointing action scenes. Colin Farrell, an Irishman more famous for his dates than his movies, is horrible as the film's blond 20-something namesake. Anthony Hopkins narrates the story as Ptolemy, although there isn't a single scene that shows any kind of special relationship that would lead the audience to think this man deserves to tell the great tales of Alexander. And then the narrator disappears when I actually want him around to explain something. Angelina Jolie, breathtaking as Alexander's mysterious mother Olympias, is the film's only redeeming quality. At some point in its long running time, Alexander is meandering through Eastern Arabia and down into India. That's exactly how the audience feels. You might sympathize with Alexander's army -- they're annoyed, confused and tired -- but you certainly don't connect with the Macedonian conqueror.