'Battle Formation, Archers, Catapults! ATTACK!!!' And there is the clash of steel,
the thundering of hooves, war cries, dismembered limbs, severed heads, howls of
death and shouts of triumph. And as the bloody dust clears, it's another victory
for the invincible Romans, this time against the barbarians at the border of Germania,
under the command of the mighty and courageous Commander Maximus (Russell Crowe).
This battle scene, shown in an all its gory reality, is how the movie begins,
and ensures that even a hundred horses will not drag you from your seat.
Russell Crowe, the talented actor born in New Zealand and raised in Australia,
is taking Hollywood by storm. And he rightfully deserves all the adulation and
fame that he has earned. Brawn, brain and immense talent, all wrapped in one,
is something that you come across rarely, and this is one of those. From Romper
Stomper (the lesser known Aussie movie) to The Insider, Crowe has proven time
and time again that he is a star that will shine, and shine brightly for many
a moon. And Gladiator is, without a doubt, another feather in his already illustrious
The aging Caesar (Richard Harris) is a worried emperor over the fate of Rome,
with a disturbed and ambitious son Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) who is unworthy
of the throne. All Caesar can do is wish that his wise and beautiful daughter
Lucille (Connie Nielsen) were born a man. With no capable heir, the only choice
is Commander Maximus, a farmer by profession, whose love for Rome and Caesar make
him the ideal choice.
Of course, Commodus doesn't like this, and murders Caesar. Maximus and his family
are sentenced to death for his refusal to serve Commodus after his father. Escaping
death and gravely injured, Maximus rushes home to save his family, only to find
them brutally executed. Collapsing in shock and anguish, he wakes up to find himself
being sold as a slave, to fight or die in the arenas.
Maximus earns both name and fame in these bloody arenas of death as Spaniard,
the best Gladiator ever. His burning vengeance and hatred bring him to the coliseum
in Rome to fight against the best. How he manages to save Rome before he breathes
his last, from the tyrannical rule of Commodus, makes up the rest the movie.
The film is directorial excellence, all praises to Ridley Scot for bringing this
thoroughly engrossing and entertaining film to screen. One cannot write enough
about the quality and the depth of the performance of each and every actor in
this movie. Joaquin Phoenix's portrayal of a disturbed, insecure emperor, who
has more than a sisterly love for his sister, is outstanding and brilliant. Russell
Crowe, Connie Nielsen, Richard Harris and all involved have all given performances
that will stay etched in your memory.
The magic that cinema can create is present in every bit of this masterful movie.
The sets, stunts and camerawork are downright superb. One aspect that shines right
through are the dialogues - each and every one is filled with class and punch.
This is one movie we hope will do well at the Oscars. Do not miss this movie for
the world, and make sure you watch it on the big screen to thoroughly enjoy it.