Number of Times Seen – Too many to count (21 Apr 2000 in Theater, video, DVD, 8 Sep 2013 and 13 Mar 2020)
Link to original review – Here
Brief Synopsis – A general of the Roman Army is falsely accused of being a traitor and subsequently becomes a slave who must fight as a gladiator while planning his revenge.
My Take on it – This is such a great film and I can still recall the first time I saw it in the theater nearly 2 decades ago.
The story works really well and that has much to do with the way that they integrate so many film making aspects together in order to give us such an epic film that delivers the whole way through.
Russell Crowe is great in the lead role and his character is absolutely believable as one who could win the hearts of the people by his actions.
He was very deserving of his Oscar win for Best Actor for his role here even though I personally still believe that Tom Hanks should have beaten him for his work in Cast Away (2000).
I’m quiet sure that Crowe’s amazing work the previous year in The Insider (1999) could also have been a factor in his win here.
The special effects are superbly done here and help make this film even more believable since they are able to add so much to the grandeur of Rome and the Gladiatorial games depicted here.
This truly was the sport of the time and people came out in masses to cheer both for and against these fighters.
The movie does a great job using some more modern tactics in order to help make these games more tangible to a modern audience and that enhances things even more.
This allows for things to be perceived as being even more plausible in all that transpires.
Joaquin Phoenix is also great in his supporting role here even if his character isn’t fleshed out enough and his villainy seems more cartoonish than palatable.
The story and setting comes across as being quite epic and the structure helps transport the viewer to a place and time long gone.
The choreography of the various actions scenes is unbelievable and despite being a bit too graphic now and again, things are extremely enjoyable to watch unfold because of the brutality of it all which makes it even more believable.
The main character’s arc is played out really well and that helps allow us to feel everything he experiences along his journey through the story.
The score by Hans Zimmer is superb and allows the story to move along at a great pace while keeping things feeling extremely powerful and impactful along the way.
This film was quite deserving of its 5 Oscars that also included Best Picture.
What’s even more impressive is the fact that the story, effects and characters all still hold up extremely well even after nearly 20 years.
Bottom Line – Amazing film that works so well because it is able to integrate so many enjoyable aspects into the story which enhances things. Crowe is great in the lead role and truly is able to win the hearts of the masses with his performance. He was quite deserving of his Oscar for Best Actor for his work here even if this wasn’t the very best performance of the year. The film’s use of special effects helps make things even more enjoyable to watch since they add so much to the grandeur of Rome and the gladiatorial games that are depicted here. Love the way that they modernize the aspect of the games in order to make it more tangible to a modern audience especially since it seems plausible that things were actually run this way. Phoenix is great in a supporting role, but his character isn’t developed well enough and he feels too much like a caricature instead of a well drawn out villain. The story is quite epic in its setting and structure and helps make the viewer get a great view of a time long gone. The action scenes are superbly choreographed and despite being a bit graphic at points, it still is extremely effective throughout. The character arc of the lead character is played out really well and we can easily feel for everything that he experiences throughout the story. The score by Zimmer is superb and helps keep things moving along really well because it’s so impactful. Very deserving of its 5 Oscar win including Best Picture and still holds up nearly 20 years later. Highly Highly Recommended!
MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Hans Zimmer’s score is one of the bestselling movie soundtracks of all time. (From IMDB)
Rating – Oscar Worthy (10/10) (no change from original review)
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