Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Alexander


Starring: Colin Farrell, Jared Leto, Val Kilmer, Angelina Jolie.

Colin Farrell Alexander the Great is the earliest person gays and lesbians claim as one of their own. But, in Alexander's time (he was born 300 years before the common era began) there was no sense of "gay". Men having sex with men was a commonplace accepted thing in Greek life. Some bible scholars suggest that many of the Judeo-Christian prohibitions against homosexuality are actually nothing more than attacks on Greek culture that was being embraced by a fledgling Israel.

Alexander and his lover As for Greek male-to-male sex it was seldom exclusively male-to-male, since most ancient Greeks married. The idea of "gay" culture and "community" did not develop until the 20th century. In North America it was in large part the result of Stonewall.

Nevertheless, Alexander is ours. And, Oliver Stone's film is the first to recognize that. Just look at Richard Burton's 1956 version. Not even a hint he liked men.

The love between Alexander (Colin Farrell) and two boyhood friends, Hephaestion (Jared Leto) and Bagoas (Francisco Bosch). is an integral part of the film. The love scene, however, is left up to our imaginations, and the nude shot of Farrell is all to brief. Nevertheless, it is there. (I won't tell you any more about the appendage which was left on the cutting room floor in A Home At the End of the World because it was "too distracting - you'll just have to find out for yourselves).

“I have no problem showing my cock,” Farrell told 365Gay.com's Tim Nasson in an exclusive interview. “I worked out a lot before and during ‘Alexander ... My ass was the most toned part of my body, I think."

Alexander's sex life was only a small part of the life of this superhero. Although he was the ultimate warrior, Alexander had the soul of an explorer - in his 22,000-mile march, he sought not to destroy, but to re-invent each society in the mold of his own vision for a new world.

He conquered the world not only by virtue of his military genius, but perhaps even more importantly, with the power of his ideas. What Alexander accomplished in his near 33 years on earth has reverberated through the centuries. His empire included lands that now comprise the countries of Greece, Albania, Turkey, Bulgaria, Egypt, Libya, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and India. In 323 B.C., the year of his death, it comprised well over two million square miles.

Stone's version of Alexander is by its very nature fictionalized. So few of the facts surrounding Alexander's brief life remain. Even his earliest biographers could only take their best guess at the truth. "

Stone doesn't see the story of Alexander as belonging solely to the ancient world. He had a lot of the demons that modern people have.

Colin Farrell as Alexander Farrell is well cast, although I had, at times, difficulty picturing him as that born leader that was Alexander. As Philip, Alexander's father, Val Kilmer is terrific, giving a complex characterization to a complex man - part father, part bully, part dynasty builder. But, the highest praise goes to Angelina Jolie.

As Alexander's mother she is the power behind the throne, pushing Alexander to his limits.

Stone weaves an exciting tale, even though we know the ending before we set foot in the theater. The battle scenes put Cecil B. DeMille to shame. Sweeping wide shots with quick cuts to close-ups of the brutality of war.

In short, all things considered, Alexander is worth double the admission price.

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