In the year 180, the death of emperor Marcus Aurelius throws the Roman Empire into chaos. Maximus is one of the Roman army's most capable and trusted generals and a key advisor to the emperor. As Marcus' devious son Commodus ascends to the throne, Maximus is set to be executed. He escapes, but is captured by slave traders. Renamed Spaniard and forced to become a gladiator, Maximus must battle to the death with other men for the amusement of paying audiences.
Gladiator has been my most favorite film of all time. It is an epic masterpiece in many ways and it really explains why despite the numerous viewings, Gladiator still amuses me with its powerful imageries and many other crucial aspects so that it won five Academy Awards. This film is very well written, the well-ensemble casts, the A-class acting (especially Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix), the stunning cinematography and definitely a strong character of Maximus (magnificently portrayed by Russell Crowe) whose life, struggle, disappointment and anger really move the audience, as if the world attention centers on him. Gladiator is not a historical film, because it only used the history of the ancient Roman Empire merely as the time setting.
All other aspects namely those gorgeous shots, the great storyline/plot, the fantastic cinematography, the vividly lavish colors, detailed production design and digital imaging (that successfully rebuilt the stunning beauty of the ancient Roman Empire) and all sell really well, making the 170 minute-long running time definitely worthwhile. The visual of great battle in the first 15 minutes really stole my heart. The gruesome pictures, the blood and violence just to beautiful to abandon. Everything in this movie seems perfectly balanced, Ridley Scott as the film director really did his homework well in redefining and revitalizing the big battle sequence once considered masterpiece from Spartacus and Ben Hur. In the end, once again, I would say that Gladiator perfectly combines some crucial elements such as good, moving story, dazzling visual, beautiful scenery, filming techniques, direction and touching music score into one harmonious, action-packed film about heroism and its true meaning.
Universal Pictures, Scott Free Productions, Red Wagon Entertainment, Mill Film, C & L, Dawliz, DreamWorks Pictures by Ridley Scott, David Franzoni, John Logan, William Nicholson.
Stars: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed.
Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama
Keywords: rome italy parent child relationship gladiator arena senate roman empire emperor slavery ancient rome battlefield slave auction ancient world combat chariot philosopher fictionalized history barbarian horde 2nd century successor commodus marcus aurelius maximus
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