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Thin on Plot, Not on Eyeliner

It’s a classic tale: Macedonian lad with an affection for blond wigs and enough eyeliner to make a transvestite blush, meets horse stricken with fear of its own shadow. Boy and horse fall in love and express their love by together conquering the known world, until horse tragically dies in a death charge against Indian elephant.

Beyond this, there is no getting away from the fact that ‘Alexander’ lacks a coherent plot. Oliver Stone’s opulent comeback film revels in its confusion, apparently attempting to divert any intelligent questioning by revealing Alexander to have, in fact, been an Irishman.

But the film does unwittingly present a strong moral lesson. The only motivation for Hollywood to again abuse a topic from ancient history seems to be that Alexander represents a subject easily adaptable to pander to the cult of celebrity that permeates our popular culture. Of course Alexander was acutely aware of his place in history, but the thrill and fascination of his life is utterly lost with this all too human Alexander.

Although Alexander gloriously trots around Asia killing lots of people for supposedly the best of intentions, parallels being drawn perhaps with America’s current foreign policy, you can’t help but think that he’d have lived an ultimately more fulfilling, though less famous, life if he’d stayed at home and found a good Irish/Macedonian wife to share his eyeliner with.

Colin Farrell wallows in the reflected glory from the historical figure he perceives himself to be imitating, but it is this perception of mere fame and glory as the ultimate virtue that allows the film to become so reduced and ultimately pointless.

The fact that ‘Alexander’ takes three hours to teach us the folly of its own ways, however, leaves you feeling somewhat cheated not only of your financial contribution but also of the portion of your life invested, now lost into the ether. The film is so painfully dull and protracted that when Alexander finally does die it seems the most lacking part. I think strangulation would have been more satisfying.

Could Sir Anthony Hopkins not have spiced things up a bit, dropping the impersonation of Yoda visiting the great library of Alexandria, and donned his Dr Lecter persona once more?

February 1, 2005 12:40 pm | Link | Comments Off on Thin on Plot, Not on Eyeliner

Robert O'Brien

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