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Alexander

Director:  Oliver Stone
Year Released:  2004
Rating:  3.0

Much maligned epic by Oliver Stone, who does miss the mark by a wide margin - it's all testosterone and sword swipes; screaming matches and hysteria - and is shaky on the particulars, but somehow made a film so completely engorged with rage and hysteria part of me was totally impressed; at three hours long, it's both visionary and exhausting. With Stone, nothing is tactful: the battle scenes, the Oedipal sidebar (Angelina Jolie is delicious as Alexander's Medusa-like mother), the homosexuality - seeing Colin Farrell and Jared Leto paw at each other is barely realistic and a little childish, though cautiously 'alluding' to things has never been the director's forte. I'd be lying if I said I would ever watch it again on TV - it is a 'theater movie' - and I could never say it's a 'good movie' (the dialogue is too rambling, the story too choppy) but there's a certain go-for-broke insanity to Stone that's admirable - while Coppola hides in his vineyards and lets his daughter do the heavy lifting, and Scorsese makes safe misfire after safe misfire and William Friedkin is nowhere to be found, he's still taking chances (his recent documentaries on Arafat and Castro, shot on DV, are equally as focused but misguided). There was never any doubt - in my mind, at least - that Colin Farrell is actually playing both Stone and the ancient leader at the same time.

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