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Title - Gladiator
My Admission - $4.00
One Line Review - Stick with Mel Brooks and his version of Rome.


Review - Ridley Scott's new film, Gladiator, is ultimately a disappointment.  Inspiring visuals, decent acting, & moody music just aren't enough to carry one through 2 1/2 hours of 'semi-civilized' Rome.

Most accounts of the film, by professional reviewers, have hailed Gladiator as an epic feat; single-handedly reviving a long dormant genre.  My take is, "Gladiator will help future filmmakers make a better gladiator film."

The acting is not bad but no one really sold me their character. Oliver Reed provides the best performance of the film but he died during filming in Malta and therefore leaves the filmmakers to muddle through a horrible resolution for his character.  Russell Crowe made a fine Roman General but would have better success if his role and (challenge) were believable.  Joaquin Phoenix would have made a better Emperor if his character were allowed to rule and Connie Nielse (potentially the strongest character in the film) was robbed of her character's best trait, that of a Liar, by spending the film as an emotional wreck.  Djimon Hounsou's character is a complete waste and was probably fabricated after Reed's death (that's probably not true but his role is that bad).  I'm hoping the best parts of their performances landed on the cutting room floor and will be part of the extra hour of footage promised for the DVD release.

Now, Ridley Scott is by far my favorite director but hasn't thrilled me in forever.  With Gladiator he's only provided some classic visuals.  The scenery is fabulous and detailed, the Coliseum is flawless, if not cramped, and Scott's attention to floaty things is just creamy, the rose petals and the pretty white stuff that floats like seedlings and piss most people off.

The damage to Gladiator is largely due to the introduction of so many wasted subplots; they don't even seek resolution that you're left with little time for the actual plot.  I guess it’s an attempt to distract you from the fact that Gladiator is a drag.

Oh, and don't be fooled by those talks about great battle scenes and Coliseum carnage.  Although vaguely amusing, they’re shot in such a way that they’re completely nauseating to watch.  It's not the blood or carnage that makes you sick, it's the damn film itself.


Movie Information

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Turn Down The Lights, Turn Up The Sound.

Matthew Gilbert © 1999-2015 All Rights Reserved

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