analytical Q
Movie Reviews

Movie Reviews


29 May 2000 London

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The movie Gladiator clearly defines good vs bad and right vs wrong.  It reminds us that human beings in the end will overcome their fears and acknowledge the good and the right.  There is a Chinese saying: ren zhi chu, xin ben shan.  In the beginning a person has a good heart (is of good character).  We were idealistic in the beginning.  Overtime we see corruption, we try to get away with little, then a little more, we tolerate corruption and join them if we can't win. 

This movie reminds me of all the Chinese kung fu novels (wu xia xiao shuo) I read as a child.  People would die for an ideal.   People would gladly sacrifice their lives for truth.  Honor, loyalty, and courage are all the marks of a hero.  Who is our hero these days?

The hero of the film, General Maximus, played by Russell Crowe, is every bit the hero.  In fact, I have never seen him not in a good role.   Although I don't quite remember LA Confidential, I do recall that Crowe was the good guy who is The Insider (which I saw on the plane from Nairobi to Zurich), the quickshooter in The Quick and the Dead (which I saw on television), and now as the Gladiator (which I finally saw in a proper large-screen cinema).  One of the reasons why he fits the hero image is that he has a very deep voice.  Also, he seems to have a character of his own - the sort of guy who does not conform in order to be accepted, but one who sticks to his principles.

The general's arch enemy, son of Markus Aurelius, so evil that I don't even want to remember his name, is every bit the opposite:  cowardly, devious, unfair, and insatiably ambitious.

The movie is quite gory  - definitely not for anyone who faints at the sight of blood, not used to seeing headless bodies, or body-less heads.   My knowledgeable friend informs me that Markus Aurelius was not murdered by his son, as depicted in the movie.  She probably didn't see that there was a disclaimer in the end:  ".... fiction...."