And so it was, that some 12 years after the release of the director's cut of Alexander on DVD, I finally watched it. My interest was prompted by the fact I had just read Fire From Heaven by Mary Renault which is a fictionalized account of Alexander III childhood up until the death of his father Philip II.
I had high hopes for the film. Oliver Stone is no mug director and I have enjoyed many of his movies.However, at the conclusion of the 158 minutes, I was very disappointed, and this is why:
1. The backwards and forwards through time narration had me lost at times and wondering why a straight lineal telling of the tale would not have sufficed.
2. The sound production, perhaps best suited for the cinema was such that I could barely hear or understand what the actors were mumbling.
3. The preponderance of scenes which featured nothing of obvious import to the story, like the numerous 'feast' or party scenes in which the characters exchanged mysterious looks.
4. Angelina Jolie sounded like a drunk Russian, and all the Macedonians had English or Irish accents.
5. The omission of Alexander's first kill, and the inclusion of a suggested love scene with some bloke, but only a suggestion of the deep love between Alexander and Hephastion.
All in all, deeply unsatisfying. On a positive note the battle scene between the Macedonians on horseback and the Indians on elephants was breathtaking. My advice? Give Alexander a miss, and let's hope another director does justice to the tale of this most remarkable man.
Have you seen it? What did you think?