Beyond cleaning up at the Oscars, the true lasting impact of Gladiator is that it marks the beginning of the longstanding cinematic “bromance” between director Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe. It is also the high water mark for that creative team. They’ve done good work since but not on this level.
With the creative pedigree behind this film, if it had merely been good, that would have been a tremendous disappointment. The writer, director and two stars have no fewer than five Academy Awards between them and none of them earned cheaply. It should come as either no surprise or a great relief that American Gangster more than delivers on every promise made by the names in the credits.
Suffice it to say I am not a regular consumer of romantic comedies. Most of them seem to offer all the intellectual stimulation of week-old Twinkies. For a movie in this genre to even catch my attention, it has to offer something unique. In this case, director Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe are anything but your typical “RomCom” tag team, so their participation alone is at least worthy of taking note.
You have the power to kill but not negotiate. In Somalia, killing is negotiation.
Ridley Scott’s fact-based epic is probably the most patriotic anti-war movie ever made. It successfully honors the men and their mission, while simultaneously acknowledging the politics that ultimately made their sacrifices rather futile in the end. It may be the first modern war movie about a truly modern war and watching it now, I realize that the current occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue have either not seen this movie or have at least never internalized the lessons from the events depicted. The prior tenant may have learned the wrong lesson from the Battle of Mogadishu, but at least he was paying some attention.
Original Theatrical Cut:
’92 “Director’s” Cut: [/types]]
Final Cut: [/types]]
Blade Runner is the exception that proves the rule that filmmakers should not be allowed to revisit their earlier work, like George Lucas did with Star Wars. Unlike Lucas’s popcorn trilogy, Ridley Scott‘s visionary adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electic Sheep has always seemed like it really was only partially finished.
When you stand before God, you cannot say, “But I was told by others to do thus,” or that virtue was not convenient at the time. This will not suffice.
When I reviewed the theatrical cut of Ridley Scott’s Crusade-era epic Kingdom of Heaven, I made note that the film was long on spectacle and short on story and compelling characters. I was not in the minority in that opinion either. Fox, in order to bring the film down to a more commercial running time, pressured director Ridley Scott to cut it, emasculating the story in the process.
At the time, there was already work being done on this director’s cut, and I hoped that this version would restore the depth and substance that the theatrical version lacked. I am now pleased to report that this is exactly the case. This new, 196-minute version restores a number of scenes, sub-plots and entire characters that answer my objections and give this film a level of resonance worthy of the images on screen.
When I first saw the previews of Kingdom of Heaven, having not heard of the film before that, my first reaction was, “Wow, somebody’s seen Gladiator a few too many times.” Much about the scenes in the trailer seemed like a conscious attempt to ape Ridley Scott‘s sword-and-sandals epic. It wasn’t until I reached the end of the trailer that I realized this was also a Ridley Scott film.