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Fortune Favours The Bold 

Year: 2004 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Alexander

Alexander the Great was the most prolific conqueror the world has known. Succeeding his murdered father to the throne of Macedonia whilst still only 20, within ten years he had led his army to invade and conquer much of the known world, including Asia Minor, Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Middle East and the Persian Empire, as well as invading India, to finally die in mysterious circumstances at the tender and tragic age of 33.

From film-giant Oliver Stone (JFK, Natural Born Killers) comes this heavily anticipated biopic of one of histories most fascinating rulers. Stone chooses an old version of Ptolemy (Hopkins), one of Alexander’s (Farrell) generals to narrate the story and we follow him through a turbulent life from childhood with his fighting parents, King Phillip (Kilmer) and Olympia (Jolie) through to taking his army into the unknown and his eventual demise. One of the most controversial aspects of the film is Alexander’s relationship with childhood friend Hephaistion (Leto). Stone cut out a kissing scene to avoid Bible-belt blushes and rage, but the intimacy between the two men is still very much evident; Hephaistion often providing Alexander with a source of much needed courage.

Forget the across-the-board critical abuse this film has received. OK; it was nominated for 6 Razzies, Colin Farrell’s accent is dodgy, and bizarrely his Irish twang even rubs off on American cast members with only Angelina Jolie making any real effort to deliver an eastern accent. The big battle scenes are as good as any in the likes of Gladiator and Troy, and Alexander’s army faced with charging elephants is pant-wettingly tense. Only two of Alexander’s main battles are shown, and though each takes up more screen time than film battles usually do, you may be left wishing for more time dedicated to showing the world’s greatest conqueror doing just that. To be honest, it is not the film’s performances that are its selling point but if you are interested in Alexander, or just like a good old sword and sandal epic (with a ridiculously gorgeous cast) then this is definitely worth seeing, and definitely on the big screen.

Hannah Upton

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Screenings of this film:

2004/2005 Summer Term (35mm)