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Alexander, movie review

One of my ex-friends was so fond of Alexander the Great that, apart from computer manuals and motorcycle magazines, it seemed like Mary Renault's Alexander the Great was the only book he ever read. His admiration for Alexander rubbed off on me and soon the name became my favourite. I even suggested it to a couple who were indecisive about a name for their son. It had to sound Russian and English.

Oliver Stone's Alexander had a message to tell. It is natural for conquerors to have elitist dispositions for they are powerful over the powerless. Alexander decided to marry a foreign damsel against the approval of his men who believed that a Macedonian woman would keep the line pure. Alexander, on the other hand, pointed out that many of the lands they had conquered were civilisations far older than theirs.

Now that's a man with a vision ahead of his time. He had an insatiable desire to move ahead and find the edge of the world. Or was he simply running away from his mother, beautifully played by Angelina Jolie, with whom he has a love-hate relationship (in the movie)? She tells him,"You are the only one I love, the only one in my heart." His father, King Philip of Macedonia, played by Val Kilmer, warns him that women are more dangerous than men. Alexander, played by Colin Farrell, has split loyalty ---- to be approved by his dad like all boys are and to believe in his mother.

Why Colin Farrell had to wear a blonde wig is beyond me. I have never met a natural blonde Greek. Is the blonde-ness symbolic of elite and power?

The story is told through old Ptolemy convincingly played by Anthony Hopkins. Even through him we can see that history is interpreted, full of bias and value-laden, though he tries to tell it as objectively as he can.

Over two hours of costume, make-up, and lots of bloodshed, the movie left me with the following impression:

Why conquer? Why kill? Why not just travel as an independent, inconspicuous person? Surely that's a more peaceful and less costly better way to see the world than to apply force. Or could it be that victory brings the same kind of "high" that a performer experiences after a brilliant concert? If so, I can understand why the conqueror continues to conquer just as a performer continues to practise for the next concert.

26 December 2004 Sunday

Related links:
analyticalQ personal movie reviews
Frances Ku monthly journal: "What movies are supposed to do," December 2004
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Anne Ku at Ilp in May 2001
Anne Ku

writes about her travels, conversations, thoughts, events, music, and anything else that is interesting enough to fill a web page.
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