Gladiator: Top Movie Review
By Jesper Joergensen
Maximus Decimus Meridius, a powerful act by Russell Crowe, veteran of many top 10 movies, was a General in the army of ageing Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius and had saved the Rome from many barbarous attacks. Emperor Marcus on his death bed wishes that an appointed Senate should rule the empire and till that time Maximus should keep the reigns of the empire in his hands. Commodus, enacted on screen by Joaquin Phoenix, star of many top rated movies, Marcus's son kills his father on learning this and on assuming charge of the empire orders that Maximus and his family be executed. Maximus is betrayed by his friend Quintus and is arrested but somehow escapes only to find that he got late in saving his wife and son. An unconscious Maximus is taken by slave traders to Zucchabar, in North Africa, where Proximo, a slave trader buys him and makes him a gladiator. There he befriends two gladiators, Juba, well portrayed by Djimon Hounsou, star of many top movies, from Numidia and Hagen from Germania. Juba is a gentle soul and assures Maximus that he shall meet his family after death.
Maximus grows in stature as a gladiator and he is invited for fights at the Colosseum in the city of Rome where he again confronts Commodus. He opens the event by skillfully leading his men and defeating the opponent. Commodus wants him to be killed upon knowing his true identity but is advised against it looking at his immense popularity with the crowds. Commodus orders him to fight Tigris of Gaul the undefeated champion gladiator of Rome. Maximus defeats Tigris but spares his life. After the fights Maximus learns from Cicero, his once faithful servant, that the soldiers who were led by Maximus in battles were still loyal to him. Maximus plans to overthrow Commodus and form a senate to rule the empire, for which he gets the support of Commodus's sister Lucilla who has always loved Maximus, well played by Connie Nielsen, the charming face of many top rated movies. But Commodus suspecting his sister threatens to kill her son and gets to know of Maximus's plan. Finding no other way to stop Maximus from being a hero in the eyes of the people, he challenges him to a fight unto death in the Colosseum.
Before entering the arena, Commodus meets Maximus and stabs him with a hidden stiletto. In the ensuing fight both the warriors are highly wounded and Commodus loses his sword. Attempting to kill Maximus with the stiletto he is slain by Maximus with the same stiletto. Before dying Commodus honors his father's last wishes and orders that a senate be formed to rule the empire and slavery be abolished. Maximus dies in Lucilla's arms and re-unites with his dead wife and son.
Ridley Scott, director of many top movies, the master story teller and director of par excellence historical films, performs another magic on the screen, extracting excellent performances from his actors like a juicer extracting juice from the fruits. The sweetness of his films comes from this quality of his, not that he doesn't have other cinematic qualities. He knows how to narrate a story on screen - he knows how to keep his viewers glued to their seats and savor every drop of the blissful elixir of enjoyment he serves them with the finesse worthy of him.
PS: Count this masterpiece amongst one of the greatest epics ever came to the screen with tremendous drama, action and brilliant performance by Oscar Winner Russell Crowe who is a class act on the big screen. The movie Gladiator explores the life and struggle of one man known as Maximus Decimus Meridius a simple but an honorable and dignified man who served as the general in the Roman army of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Maximus was emperor's greatest asset as he is the bravest most able general and very loyal soldier.
Soon politics and jealousy came into play and the great general was reduced to nothing but a mere slave who became a gladiator and then challenged the might of the new bratty emperor Commodus the sadistic son of Marcus Aurelius. Commodus and Maximus were completely opposite of each other in characteristics while Maximus was an honorable and disciplined man with his own righteous code of conduct which can easily win the hearts of sound people such as Emperor Marcus himself and his daughter Lucilla who use to love Maximus from the beginning but Maximus out of righteousness and dignity defied the love of the princess.
While Commodus on the other hand was an arrogant power-hungry brat of a prince and sadistic and disgusting enough to kill his own father for the throne and lust over her own sister Lucilla. The story unfolds as once again the heroic and now popular gladiator Maximus and Emperor Commodus collides at the colossal Roman gladiator's arena while the fate of both rested on the approval of people of Rome....