Gladiator Film Review

Do you have some spare time on your hands? Are you feeling bored? Instead of wasting your time with your friends and family why not watch Ridley Scott’s latest film Gladiator; it will show you the true meaning of boredom; it will have you crying with frustration. The muscular Russell Crowe plays our hero, Maximus, a tough Roman general and a favourite of the dying Caesar, Marcus Aurelius (the elderly Richard Harris). Caesar’s last wish is that Maximus should be take charge of Rome until it is returned to the people’s rule.

However the evil Commodus (the scrawny Joaquin Phoenix), Caesar’s son, wants to be the Emperor of Rome, so he brutally slays his father and sentences poor Maximus to a horrific execution. Maximus escapes, only to discover that his wife and son had been cruelly murdered. Captured, he becomes a slave in training to become a fearsome gladiator. In the arena he proves himself a top gladiator fighting many fierce, brutal and gruesome battles. This elevates him to the coliseum in Rome, where Maximus can pursue his revenge on the emperor, Commodus.

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Commodus, the ‘baddie’, also Caesar’s son, will do absolutely anything to become the Emperor of Rome, which includes killing his own father because he isn’t chosen to rule. How predictable! Joaquin Phoenix’s acting is worse than Hilary Duff’s; easily making himself the most unbelievable character throughout the film. Fake emotion, along with fake tears, poured over his face in every single one of his crying scenes. Acting is all about putting across a convincing performance; I was not convinced in the slightest. Maximus, the ‘heroic’ character, has his wife and children violently murdered as he refuses to rule.

Who couldn’t see that one coming? I must admit I’m glad to say Russell Crowe’s performance was a great deal better than that of his rival, Commodus’, his best scene being final tense showdown between himself and the cunning Commodus, the only part of the whole film where I found myself wondering what would happen next. The plot absolutely bored me to tears. Not even five minutes into the story and were already thrown into a horrendous battle scene, which foreshadows the lack of focus on the clumsy plot. Isn’t this jus like the opening of Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan”?

If there wasn’t a key part of the story playing, which was for the most part of the film, I would find myself day dreaming about whether the ceiling was dark white or light cream. The long winded tedious plot dragged on interminably in this two and a half hour time-consuming film. It seems he tried to make a fantastic fighting film but forgot to add the fantastic; it was focused too much on the wild battle scenes (again like “Saving Private Ryan” except Steven Spielberg did it significantly better) and not enough on developing the monotonous plot, and to make a brilliant film you have to have an even mixture.

At the start, the scenes are mainly quite blue. But after a while you begin to notice the dark, muddy scenes which seem to fill up the rest of the time. If the scenes weren’t muddy brown they were as black as the midnight sky as there would hardly be any light. Shadows poured half of the actor’s faces as they talked; how on earth can you watch a film if you can’t see the actor’s faces? Thousands of short cut shots right in the middle of all the gory action made the unruly battle scenes incredibly baffling and bewildering.

Who hired the camera man? The battle scenes whizzed by in a blur of fast, confusing shots and I hadn’t a clue what had gone on. If I can’t understand what’s happening in a film, how can I be entertained by it? Overall, I think Gladiator was just far too long. They need to spice up the storyline a bit more; I’ve seen more creativity on a blank piece of paper! I would give this film a poor rating of 2/10. So to answer your question Maximus, no, I am not entertained and I know I’ll never complain about being bored again.

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