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"Gladiator" definitely is a classic film as it combines a simple, but
moving, story with beautiful scenery, filming, direction and score it
is truly a "complete" movie.
I am mostly compelled with the beautiful script which in a way reminds me of poetry, though it is still everyday language. I love the acting portrayed by the late Oliver Reed and also Richard Harris. Russell Crowe, Djimon Housou and Joaquin Phoenix are also superb and the parts suit them perfectly. There are also a number of less "popular" artists who also deserve a big "bravo". Amongst them I have to mention ex-Mr Universe Ralph Moeller who is mostly used as the comic relief of the movie. In Gladiator we can also the beautiful and popular Maltese TV Star and actress Ruth Frendo, who although has a small part, she is totally brilliant and outstanding.
Actually I got to IMDb while I was looking for her name on the internet, in fact on IMDb she has some very stunning photos. I was lucky to meet Ruth Frendo whilst she was filming in another Maltese production. Ruth Frendo is not only a gorgeous and talented actress but she is also amazingly intelligent and very down-to-earth. We will definitely be seeing more of her work in the future...
The scenery used for "Gladiator" is brilliant and the opening battle scene is definitely one of my top favorite scenes. The modern camera technique contrasts sharply to the brutality of the gladiators actions and blood shed during the movie; and I love the light contrasts thanks to the lenses which most definitely have been used to create a surreal feel to the entire movie.
"Gladiator" deserves all the awards and great reviews it has received, and for those of you who still haven't gone and watched it I can assure you that it will be well worth your time and money. So go on and rent it now!
Most films require that the viewer identifies with the character to truly be
engrossed with the film. If you can't feel something for the character, than
the audience is lost.
Luckily, in Ridley Scott's case, Russel Crowe is so captivating and convincing as a general loved by his troops and as a slave loved by the people that the movie really works. Possibly one of the greatest actors today, Crowe carries this epic film on his very capable shoulders.
Not to say that he is the only reason this works. The supporting cast, most notably Connie Neilsen, buoy the film to new perspectives.
Jacquin Phoenix definitely captures the egotisitcal persona he should display, stealing every scene he's in. Phoenix will surely be put on the map with Gladiator.
But the real shining star in this film are the incredible action sequences which jolt the viewer right in with the opening sequences, as Maximus' true worth to the Roman Empire is displayed. Scott's camera work within these completed sequences takes a modern twist that really works for the gruesome scenes.
Crowe will now get the respect he deserves for this collosal performance. Gladiator makes the most of its 2 and a half hours, marking a triumphant comeback for the long forgotten epics of the classic days of film. ALL HAIL MAXIMUS!
Once again, Director Ridley Scott proves to be as professional as one can be. The recreation of ancient Rome is splendid, with all its magnificent buildings and atmosphere and he is able to show with all brightness the greatness of the Roman Empire, with its political problems and military discipline, and love and treason, of hate and jealousy, that still have a place in our world today. But the story has a glow of its own, to which all the beautiful scenery (believe me, it's awesome!!!) and great cinematography are just balancing factors. The plot is a rich one, that is as dynamic as it is present. He once again, after Blade Runner, 1492, and others helps us visit the depths of the human soul, which remains the same over all our historical and social experience. Even the fights, are displayed in such a way that all the blood is quite discrete, but still, making us feel like screaming and jumping out of our seats. I would also like to point out the performances of the cast, that is surprisingly good. We have some actors and actresses, who are not Hollywood icons, but are are greatly able to move the audience among screams and tears. All in all, we have guys like Russel Crowe, who are coming out to be part of a new and extremely promising harvest of people who are making each time more fans around the world. Well, you should see for yourself!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is wonderful storytelling. The opening Battle Scene simply mesmerizes,
showing the brutal nature of combat for Roman conquests. I went back to see
the film again. The first time I didn't hear anything Crowe said before the
battle. I was just too visually caught-up. The second time I listened very
closely and caught the wise yet succinct line from Maximus "what we do in
life... echoes in eternity." Awesome.
A simple man v. an emperor. I just loved the resilience Maximus showed throughout the movie. I find in most movies, there is an irritatingly slow process where the character has to "find himself," not so with Gladiator. Maximus does what is needed.
I liked how there were only two or three issues within this film. One was the afterlife. Aspects of the afterlife are opened, but not overdone. Love of family is given sizable focus. I liked the theme of love of country that we see as well, although it may not be justly deserved, it is never questioned.
The visual effects were amazing. It actually had me wanting to believe that's the way Rome actually looked in all it's glory. The battle of Carthage reenactment was really great.
The ending is just hypnotic. Intentionally or unintentionally it was simply emotional. The music is wonderfully beautiful as if Maximus' family are telling him...you have arrived.
Bottom line: magnificent. Visually and emotionally satisfying.
Great Story! Great Writing! Great Acting! Great Directing! Great Score!
This movie has it all. I especially enjoyed the mood of the film. Even
though it has a lot of action, there is a subtle elegance throughout the
picture that gives it great style. The movie flows effortlessly from scene
to scene, while at the same time creating wonderful intensity and
The acting in the movie more than lives up to expectations. Russell Crowe is brilliant in his role as Maximus, the "general who became a slave, who became a gladiator, who defied an emperor." Crowe's intense style is perfect for the relentless determination and confidence of Maximus. Joaquin Phoenix is equally wonderful in his role as Commodus, the corrupt emperor. He plays a great villain because he is able to give Commodus depth by showing certain vulnerable or fragile sides, while at the same time instantly transforming to let the ruthless nature of his volatile character shine. It also helps that Joaquin has the classic Caesar look that works perfectly with his role.
Connie Nielsen is also very good as Lucilla. However, perhaps the two finest performances in the movie were given by a couple of acting veterans in supporting roles. Richard Harris and Oliver Reed were exceptional in what will be remembered as crowning achievements at the end of their careers. Harris was perfect as Marcus Aurelius, the aging Caesar who reflects upon his life and contemplates how the world will remember him. And Reed, especially, gave my personal favorite performance in the movie as Proximo, the trainer for the gladiators. The way he spoke about the life of a gladiator, the splendor of Rome, and the "thrill of the Coliseum" really added excitement and anticipation during the viewing of the movie.
Gladiator is filled with many memorable moments that one would need to see more than once to fully appreciate. The excitement felt for me when Rome is first shown in all its wonder and marvel is my favorite scene. But the whole movie is a rush! Hans Zimmer provides the absolute perfect score to capture the different moods in the movie. Ridley Scott sets the perfect tone with his artistic and creative directing. I would recommend it to anyone who can stomach intensity and enjoy an epic story for the ages. Next to Braveheart, this movie is the greatest of all-time!
The movie is the story of Maximus (Crowe), a general who leads the Roman
army to victory over Germania in the beginning of the movie. The dying
emperor of Rome, Marcus Aurelius, is watching this battle.
The emperor's son, Commodus, then arrives with his sister Lucilla, and it is discovered that Commodus fully expects to be announced the new emperor of Rome in a few days. Aurelius, however, has other plans--he wants to make Maximus emperor, and requests that of the general, who wants nothing more than to go home to his family.
I went into this movie having just watched Ben-Hur in my film studies class and having watched an episode of Xena only a couple of weeks earlier that featured the story of Marc Anthony and Cleopatra. So you could say I was in the perfect mindset to watch a "sword-and-sandal" movie. I wasn't sure what to expect, having somehow avoided all the hype that accompanied this movie. But I was not disappointed.
Gladiator features some wonderful cinematography by John Mathieson. The battle scenes are very graphic. (This movie is not for the squeamish, that's for sure.) There were some scenes in particular that really struck me, such as when Crowe appears to be floating over the ground very fast. The use of color and color tones added a great deal to the mood of the movie. Excellent.
The script was being written and re-written as the filming was going on, yet it doesn't show that the actors had no idea how the movie was going to end when they began filming. The acting is terrific. Russell Crowe is wonderfully cast as Maximus. Many reviewers agree that he is now officially a star. Joaquin Phoenix also proves his mettle as the emotionally troubled Commodus, whose behavior and emotion toward his sister could give anyone the creeps. Connie Nielsen makes you believe that, as Lucilla, she really is torn between natural loyalty to her brother and doing what she knows is right. Oliver Reed, in his last performance, is memorable in his role of Proximo, the former gladiator who is the owner of Maximus and brings him to Rome. In short, the actors were brilliant in their roles, not over-acting, but giving subtle, strong performances.
The script itself is very good. Although some elements are a little hard to believe--the fact that no one recognizes Maximus when he's a slave?--this film calls for a willing suspension of disbelief, which one would happily comply with. (It's really no fun to nitpick such a movie.)
It's true that this movie does pretty much follow the Braveheart formula. However, this movie includes some elements, such as the cinematography and the incredibly graphic battle scenes (one reviewer likened it to Saving Private Ryan, "only better"), that are spectacular in itself. Overall, a great movie that I highly recommend.
I love history, and to me, Gladiator is a masterpiece. It is the most accurate picture of the Roman Empire Hollywood has ever put out. People declare Spartacus a masterpiece, but Gladiator far outdoes Spartacus in quality. The costuming, the acting, the screenplay, the scenery, and the fighting styles made me think that I had traveled back to 180 A.D. Russell Crowe is a true Hollywood tough guy, and he is superb in this movie. Joaquin Phoenix is outstanding as a villain, one of the best in movie history. He played his character as if it were a psychologist's dream case. Connie Nielsen plays one of the strongest female characters that I have ever seen. The choreographer of the action sequences was brilliant. Ridley Scott did an outstanding job in recreating the Empire, including the multitude of ethnic groups within the Empire and accurately depicting everyday life. If you're looking for insight into what the Roman Empire was like, this is a perfect depiction.
The epic blockbuster returns with the 21st Century's answer to Cecil B
DeMille, Ridley Scott and his dramatic tale of courage and revenge,
GLADIATOR - "the general who became a slave, the slave who became a
gladiator, the gladiator who defied an emperor".
Once a great roman General, and as good as adopted son of Marcus Aurelius Caesar (Harris), Maximus (Crowe) is forced into exile by Commodus (Phoenix), heir to the throne, after the death of Marcus. Saved from death by slavers, he is purchased for use as a gladiator by Proximo (Reed) and ends up in the arena of all arena's, the Colloseum, where he proves unbeatable under his guise as "The Spaniard".
And with a budget of over $100m, Scott certainly delivers the goods. GLADIATOR transcends the notion of 'blockbuster' that we have become accustomed to in the age of electronic and special effects wizardry and instead offers a good old fashioned action film along the lines of Spartacus and and Ben Hur. Not only are we drawn into an archetypal story that contains all the classic elements a filmgoer could dream of (love, loss, courage, despair, good triumphing over evil etc etc) - also on offer is a visual feast of cinematic painting after painting - a rich tapestry of images that are breathtaking and ultimately visually satisfying. From the plains of Germania, to the desert stronghold of Zuchobar, and finally to great Rome herself, John Mathiesion, the cinematographer is to be commended highly for his general inventiveness and ability to capture so much on film. The opening battle scene is superb as a cast of thousands erupt across the screen and provide an indication that we are about to see a film that pays incredible attention to detail throughout its entirety. In every way, Scott has created a world for us that scuttles films of similar epic undertakings (and budgets!) and sends them to their dooms at the bottom of the murky depths of film history where they belong.
The cast is generally very strong. Crowe proves himself very suitable to the task with a great emotional range and depth of character. His accent ocassionally bugged me (as did the mish mash of accents on offer - but that is I guess a legacy of 'internationally casted films'), but this aside, he was well and truly up to the task. Phoenix is also excellent as the disturbed Commodus, as is Nielson as Lucilla, the daughter of Marcus who "should have been a son" and finds herself torn between loyalty to her brother and doing what is 'right'. The old guard thesps of Harris, Reed and Jacobi (Grachus) are uniformly strong as supporting characters, and Spencer Treat Clark (Lucius) does a fine job as the young heir to the throne.
Add to this great cast excellent editing and post production work, and an intricate soundscape (including a magnificent Hans Zimmer score), and you have a film that, despite its length, was highly palatable and had me in there from beginning to end. A must see.
I borrowed this movie on DVD, but I wish I had seen it in the theater for it
would have been a lot more fun and powerful there. Despite this, Gladiator
is one of the most powerful and moving films I've ever seen. The plot goes
so smooth together, as well as the acting and the terrific musical score.
Director Ridley Scott puts all effort into making this film an epic, and he
does just that. I'd have to say that anyone who likes Ridley Scott (I sure
do) should see this. It is a lot like Ridley's other movies (Black Hawk Down
was also amazing). If you can stand a little bit--well, ok a LOT of blood
and gore, then you should see this. Russell Crowe shows an excellent
performance like no other. I don't think there's one bad movie that Ridley
Scott has made or that Russell Crowe has acted in. The fact that the brutal
battles involving innocent slaves in this film actually happened in real
life centuries ago makes it even more interesting and powerful. Emperor
Commodus is a truely evil and life-like villian who shows a lot of his wits
in attempts to get his revenge against Maximus.
Ridley Scott went to many different locations to shoot this film to make it real, and he does. The film is set in Rome, and it looks just like it. You feel as if you are there in the crowd, hearing them cheer and cheer to see the death. To some of you, this may sound a little barbaric, and believe me the film is VERY barbaric and brutual, however it teaches a very strong lesson of what happens when an economy turns as violent as Rome was. Ridley Scott goes to many lengths to make this movie real, because even though the characters are fictitious, all of this really did happen. Innocent people had to go through brutual fighting while thousands of people cheered for either their death or the enemy's death. If you were an inexperienced fighter, chances are you would get killed. But the strange thing is that Rome LOVED this. People came from all over to see these fights and to see the blood that was shed, that is why you can't blame the characters in this film for being so forlorn and saddened the whole time. The film itself is very dark. The theme is dark and the ending is dark. From beginning to end there is excessive violence (for those action movie-goers, this is a movie for you). But if the violence is concerning you, don't let it. The special effects make the movie great, but it's the acting and storyline that make it spectacular. HIGHLY RECCOMMENDED for anyone who wants a good time. Definitely makes you think. ***** out of *****.
Germania, 150 AD, the setting of Gladiator's opening scene. Far from the
blazing sun and dazzlingly beauty of ancient Rome, Ridley Scott shoots the
opening sequence in a subdued light. The Roman legions are nonetheless
impeccably turned out as they face the comparatively disorganised rabble
that inhabits this miserable environment. Caesar's soldiers seem somewhat
misplaced here. However, Russell Crowe is at home in this environment of
knee-deep mud and merciless snow. He commands the screen with all the
virtues of his motto: Strength and Honour.'
The plot, with its hero-to-zero-to-hero nature, runs through Gladiator's every vein. As General Maximus, Russell Crowe is welcomed by Marcus Aurelius Caesar (Richard Harris) to take the Roman throne as Emperor of a new Republic. All does not run smoothly however as mislead heir to the throne Commodus (Phoenix) takes over Rome with ill-gotten domination, having dispatched his own Father. Maximus is cast out to find his family murdered and his Spanish farm burnt to the ground. Taken in as a slave by Proximo (Reed), Maximus becomes a Gladiator and starts his journey to the Coliseum and revenge against Commodus.
Scott's cast is powerful and he is not left wanting as powerful performances are delivered by all. Due to his untimely mid-production death, Oliver Reed is created in some scenes by the grace of computer graphics, which are as convincing as they come; sometimes making it difficult to differentiate between Reed himself and his computerised counterpart.
It is, however, the supporting actors who create many of Gladiator's best dialogue-based scenes. In an accomplished demonstration of her acting ability as Lucilla, Connie Nielsen saves the occasional scene as Joaquim Phoenix shows us that he can do evil', but is less convincing when it comes to the more emotional qualities of his role.
As a vehicle for the plot, Scott's beautifully created and highly symbolic (there is an image of fire in nearly every shot of the film) dialogue scenes are of a certain merit with digitally created backgrounds that encompass the meticulous nature of the Roman Empire. However, dialogue alone does not an epic movie make, and it is in the film's spectacular action sequences that Gladiator come into its own. Shot on location in Malta, Scott's first arena was built by an army of locals and commanded some 5000 extras (a large majority of whom were of a cardboard variety). All of this pales in comparison as we arrive in a digitally created Rome which makes some scenes in Ben Hur some somewhat small scale. The Coliseum is immense, both inside and out, and the computerised provides the electric atmosphere in which Crowe and his feline companions (four sizeable, and real, Bengal tigers) perform.
The battle sequences are perfectly choreographed and shot as iconic masks and typically Roman chariots are abundant in their power and imagery. As swords clash and heads roll, Ridley Scott is triumphant in the application of special effects technology and his directorial prowess.
Always one to embrace technology, Scott's views over Rome's landscape are reminiscent of the beautifully created cityscape of Blade Runner. This is a film that fears so little and boasts so much, even a lady archer being sliced clean in half by a spiked chariot wheel!
All those involved with Gladiator should be delighted and confident with their creation, for indeed this is a convincing and enthralling display with epic proportions to take the wind from James Cameron's titanic sails.
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