Gladiator (2000) – Movie Review Example

Gladiator – 2000 (a movie critique) 12April (estimated word count – (742 of text only) Introduction - (information)
The film for this review is the year 2000 film the “Gladiator” starring Russell Crowe. This film was directed by Ridley Scott and produced by the team of Douglas Wick, Branko Lustig, and David Franzoni (who wrote the very first draft of a screenplay that was eventually revised several times during filming to accommodate new ideas and suggestions for the film). Besides Crowe, the film also stars big names Joaquin Phoenix, Oliver Reed, Richard Harris, Connie Nielsen, and Derek Jacobi. It was initially released in the United States of America on May 1, 2000 by DreamWorks Pictures and a few days later by the Universal Pictures for its international distribution. This film cost about $ 103 million to produce but it earned close to $460 million worldwide but more importantly, earned rave reviews from movie critics for its good story line and strong performances from its main actors. The “Gladiator” eventually won five Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Actor (in a leading role). The film runs for about 155 minutes and was one of the highest-earning films released in the year 2000.
Discussion - (plot)
The overall theme of the movie is revenge. The lead character of Maximus Meridius (played by Crowe) is a Spanish-Roman general who fell out favor with the new emperor in the person of Commodus (played by Phoenix) after the old philosophical emperor was killed or assassinated by his own son, Commodus. The deceased emperor had originally favored the general Maximus as his worthy successor but Commodus upon learning of the intentions of his father to bypass him, instead killed Emperor Marcus Aurelius (played by Harris) in order to seize the throne. Commodus demanded loyalty from Maximus who refused; after refusing Commodus demand, the family of Maximus was killed and crucified in their old farm.
Maximus was soon captured by a passing slave caravan who easily mistook him for a deserter of the Roman Army. He was sold into slavery and forced to join fights as a gladiator but keeps winning because of his previous excellent military training. Maximus intentionally fought well hoping to catch the attention of the new emperor Commodus and maybe get a rare chance to meet him face to face and finally to kill him (Commodus). However, Maximus had decided against his intent to exact revenge but chose instead to reveal his true identity to the Emperor Commodus who was surprised to see him (Maximus) still alive after all these years. Commodus challenges Maximus to a one-on-one public combat but treacherously stabs first a chained Maximus to weaken him; Commodus was eventually defeated and killed by Maximus as a final act of vengeance and redemption. Maximus himself soon died from his wounds.
Reality – the character of Maximus was loosely based on actual historical figures such as Spartacus (the slave who led a revolt), Narcissus (the real killer of Commodus who was a wrestler and choked the emperor to death in a bath tub), and an actual Roman general named Marcus Macrinus. The film “Gladiator” belongs to the genre of historical epics and this film is responsible for a revival of this type of films. However, many historical details or events in the film were fictionalized in order to enhance the box-office appeal of the film to audiences. Director and screenwriters took poetic license by taking inspiration from the film Ben Hur.
Setting – the movie had its supposed location in Rome at around 180 A.D. But some of the costumes and armor worn by the Roman soldiers were not reflective of that period in Roman history, according to some historians. Weaponry used by the centurions were likewise not in conformity with accepted military standard practice like using catapults in open fields.
Conclusion
I first watched this film in a theater near our home and saw it again on DVD. I would gladly recommend this film to any student for its entertainment value as well as for historical lessons it contained such as why the greatest empire the world has ever seen soon started its decline which is due to corruption within rather than from external threats (secondary only to its weakening and eventual failure as an empire). The film contained enough action sequences to hold audience attention up to the last minute. However, the films ending could have been improved a bit because showing Crowe in a vision like he is in Heaven is a bit mushy itself.
Work Cited
Gladiator. Dir. Ridley Scott. Perf. Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Oliver Reed, Richard Harris, et al. DreamWorks Pictures, 2000. Film.