Conquering 90% of the known world by the age of 25, Alexander the Great led his armies through 22,000 miles of sieges and conquests in just eight years. Coming out of tiny Macedonia (today part of Greece), Alexander led his armies against the mighty Persian Empire, drove west to Egypt, and finally made his way east to India. This film will concentrate on those eight years of battles, as well as his relationship with his boyhood friend and battle mate, Hephaestion. Alexander died young, of illness, at 33. Alexander's conquests paved the way for the spread of Greek culture (facilitating the spread of Christianity centuries later), and removed many of the obstacles that might have prevented the expansion of the Roman Empire. In other words, the world we know today might never have been if not for Alexander's bloody, yet unifying, conquest. Written by
When Alexander is facing a mutiny by his men at the Beas river, Craterus' speech mentions that many men he knew had died. He mentions that some died of disease, others were butchered in Scythia by the banks of the Oxus. This comment references Alexander's campaign against Spitamenes, a guerrilla leader whose military tactics led to a massacre of two thousand mercenaries serving Alexander. While these battles are not seen, Spitamenes' severed head is shown and is referenced to by Ptolemy as the last rebel leader, whose head was presented to Alexander by his former allies (Spitamenes was indeed killed by his own allies and his head was sent as a peace offering). See more »
In the battle at Gaugeamela, the Persian army is wearing dark clothes. Their uniforms were yellow and light purple. See more »
Our world is gone now. Smashed by the wars. Now I am the keeper of his body, embalmed here in the Egyptian ways. I followed him as Pharaoh, and have now ruled 40 years. I am the victor. But what does it all mean when there is not one left to remember - the great cavalry charge at Gaugamela, or the mountains of the Hindu Kush when we crossed a 100,000-man army into India? He was a god, Cadmos. Or as close as anything I've ever seen.
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If there have been five films in my life that left the most indelible impression on me, holding me immobilized on my chair watching until the last credit has disappeared while everybody else is already leaving, talking to myself while going home, three of them were connected to Oliver Stone one way or another (Midnight Express being the first). Alexander is the latest one. Why Alexander is Great? Because it was made by a visionary about another visionary, because it is true to itself, to the legacy, to history, because it doesn't sell off, because it is not your typical popcorn blockbuster, and most of all because, steering away from creating a cartoon-like, hollow and fake "Super-Man" (Troy's Achilles) it focuses on the Man Alexander. The Hu-Man Alexander. Without concessions to what's popular, what's expected, what's commercial, what's understandable. This is a director that doesn't mince words or films. You can tell I am still under the spell. People mention the sexual orientation thing, either to complain about too much or too little. Don't judge the Ancient World by today's or yesterday's standards. Men in Ancient Greece had Friendships (albeit not necessarily platonic ones), not Relationships. People mention the accents. Alexander was born in Ancient Macedonia (not to be confused with today's Balcan state of the same name, please) and therefore would have spoken heavily-accented Greek, Olympias was born from Epirus, Roxanne could muster very little Greek since she was a "barbarian" (meaning non-Greek back then) and Alexander's soldiers came from all over Southern Balkan, Minor Asia etc. I found the choice of Irish over British or American (reserved to Athenians for instance) accent, and the use in the film of many different accents a particularly clever one. People dismiss the eagle's overflight. Read about omens from the gods, they were very important for the Ancients. People want full visibility during the battles (why don't you see a John Wayne film then, all the dead are hidden from view and the heroes are never afraid or confused), people want more battles or events (and yet complain about how long the film is), people want their money back. I could go on and on here but there is no use. See the film again. Read a book. Open your eyes. Ask questions. Undefeated yet mortal, great yet flawed, larger-than-life yet human, Alexander has left a mark in the histories of so many peoples for a reason, and yet, the film has no more chances to be understood by his viewers than the king himself from his soldiers and childhood friends. Typical and sad.
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