Alexander is a 2004 epic film based on the life of Alexander the Great. It was directed by Oliver Stone, with Colin Farrell in the title role. The film was an original screenplay based in part on the book Alexander the Great, written in the 1970s by the University of Oxford historian Robin Lane Fox.
The film was critically derided upon its release and failed in the American box office. It grossed only US$34 million domestically, while costing $155 million to produce. However, it did better internationally in recovering its losses, grossing a total of $132 million in overseas revenue.
The two earlier DVD versions of Alexander (“director’s cut” version and the theatrical version) sold over 3.5 million copies in the United States. Oliver Stone’s third version, Alexander Revisited: The Final Cut (2007) has sold close to one million copies.
|Directed by||Oliver Stone|
|Produced by||Moritz Borman
|Written by||Oliver Stone
|Editing by||Thomas J. Nordberg
France 3 Cinéma
Egmond Film & Television
IMF Internationale Medien und Film GmbH & Co. 3 Produktions KG
|Distributed by||Constantin Film(UK/Germany)
Warner Bros. Pictures
|Running time||175 minutes|
The film is based on the life of Alexander the Great, King of Macedon, who conquered Asia Minor, Egypt, Persia and part of Ancient India. Shown are some of the key moments of Alexander’s youth, his invasion of the mighty Persian Empire and his death. It also outlines his early life, including his difficult relationship with his father Philip II of Macedon, his strained feeling towards his motherOlympias, the unification of the Greek city-states and the two Greek Kingdoms (Macedon and Epirus) under the Hellenic League,and the conquest of the Persian Empire in 331 BC. It also details his plans to reform his empire and the attempts he made to reach the end of the then known world.
The story begins 40 years after 323 BC, around 283 BC, with Ptolemy I Soter, who narrates throughout the film. We see Alexander’s daily life and the strained relationship between his parents. Alexander grows up with his mother Olympias and his tutor Aristotle, where he finds interest in love, honour, music, exploration, poetry and military combat. His relationship with his father is destroyed when Philip marries Attalus’s niece, Eurydice.
After Philip is assassinated, Alexander becomes king of Macedonia. Having briefly mentioned his punitive razing of Thebes and burning of Persepolis, Ptolemy gives an overview of Alexander’s west-Persian campaign, including his being declared as the son ofZeus by the Oracle of Amun at Siwa Oasis, his great battle against the Persian Emperor Darius III in the Battle of Gaugamela and his eight-year campaign across Asia.
Also shown are Alexander’s private relationships with his childhood friend Hephaestion and later his wife Roxana. Hephaestion compares Alexander to Achilles, to which Alexander replies that, if he is Achilles, Hephaestion must be his Patroclus (Achilles’ best friend and his lover). When Hephaestion mentions that Patroclus died first, Alexander pledges that, if Hephaestion should die first, he will follow him into the afterlife. Hephaestion shows extensive jealousy when he sees Alexander with Roxana and deep sadness when he marries her, going so far as to attempt to keep her away from him after Alexander murders Cleitus the Black in India.
After initial objection from his soldiers, Alexander convinces them to join him into his final and bloodiest battle, The Battle of Hydaspes. He is severely injured with an arrow but survives and is celebrated. Later on, Hephaestion succumbs to an unknown illness either by chance or perhaps poison, speculated in the movie to be Typhus carried with him from India. Alexander, full of grief and anger, distances himself from his wife, despite her pregnancy, believing that she has killed Hephaestion. He dies less than three months after Hephaestion, in the same manner, keeping his promise that he would follow him.