Directed by Ridley Scott
Nominated for 12 Oscars, Won 5
Up Against: Chocolat, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Erin Brockovich, Traffic
Gladiator is a movie I've seen several times, and a movie I really do enjoy. It's the story of Maximus, a general in the Roman army, who is very much loved by Marcus Aurelius. The time is coming for Marcus Aurelius to announce the succession, and in an unseen move, he tells Maximus he would like him to become his heir. Stunned, Maximus takes some time to think about it. But sadly, while he is, Marcus's corrupt son Commodus is let known he will not be Caesar. Upset that he has never been good enough for his father, he embraces him, and then suffocates him, the world never knowing about what was intended for Maximus. Maximus is arrested, and while he escapes being executed, he doesn't make it home in time to save his wife and son. Sleeping at their charred feet, the next morning he is captured as a slave, and is bought as a Gladiator. He rises through the ranks very quickly, spurred on by his master (also an ex-gladiator who was bought his freedom). His only goal now is to become so great that he may be able to find Commodus again, and let him know that he is not finished with him.
I'm actually a fan of Russell Crowe, and this is one of my favourite films of his. It's a movie, in my mind, that I always sort of associated with Braveheart as being similar, though Gladiator is a much better made film (that and I don't care for Mel Gibson). Usually I don't very much enjoy films with a lot of killing in them, but this movie was not overdone on the gore.
The music in this film is a particular stand out to me. While the battle scenes frequently sound like a bit of a wonky Pirates of the Caribbean theme, the rest of it is a very fine Zimmer score. The touches from Lisa Gerard make the slower pieces very touching and peaceful. The pieces that Zimmer and Gerrard did together are so beautiful, and rightfully capture the sadness and hopefullness of Maximus.
Joaquin Phoenix is also a standout in the film. The sneering, corrupt Commodus, he plays the part to a T. It makes me a bit sad that he didn't win that year, but that's that.
The cinematography, too, was very good and beautiful, as well as the costumes. Overall, the film looked very authentic, and looked beautiful.
Overall, this is a film I enjoy. It's not my favoruite film, or even close, but is a movie I always enjoy watching when it's on TV or whatever. I can't comment on whether it deserved to win, having not seen any of the other films that were up that year, but I enjoy this movie so I'm not complaining!