Alexander is a film of historical drama genre, in reference to the life of the Macedonian general and king Alexander the Great. The initial screenplay of the film is based on the book Alexander the Great, which was published by an Oxford historian Robin Lane Fox. Alexander was directed by Oliver Stone, who is an American writer, filmmaker, and conspiracy theorist. Stone can certainly be credited for his role as director in this film because the theme revolved of fighting between countries or groups of people. In this case, both Oliver Stone and Alexander the Great were familiar with the battlefield. Stone served in the Army during world war II, enlisted in the united states Army in 1971 and served in the 25th Infantry Division and later in the 1st Calvary Division during the Vietnam War, needless to say he was around the warzone quite a few times and is most definitely knowledgeable of the subject.
The purpose of making was to capture and deliver the iconic story of Alexander the Great, hence the name of the film Alexander. The period of history in the film displays the Hellenistic world, which was caused by Alexander’s influence. The film equally matches up with the historical ideas of Alexander. It was depicted fairly in ways of who Alexander the Great was and his impact on history.
The quality of the film was rather convincing and sufficient considering the major accomplishments of Alexander the Great and who he was as an individual. In addition to that, director Stone also captures Alexander’s relationship his parents, Alexander’s ideals and legacy. The film connects his youth and present life to build up to Alexander’s rise of power. As a young kid Alexander was taught by Greek philosopher Aristotle for a course of three years, who was hired by Alexander’s father Philip. Ultimately, Aristotle’s great academic influence on Alexander is what moved him to want to become a brave conqueror. It goes without saying, being an iconic leader who conquered the biggest empire known to date will always be Alexander’s momentous accomplishment. In the film we are able to see that Alexander’s relationship with his father Phillip was not the best and there is some animosity towards his father. An example of their relationship being shaky was seen in the wedding scene. Where Phillip had a speech about his Macedonian relatives being his equals now created a moment of conflict because Alexander was enraged by what his father was saying. Alexander and Philip go back and forth disputing but the peak of that scene was when Philip calls Alexander a bastard and his mother a whore, which made Alexander extremely upset but moreover showed everyone the character of Philip.
As for the relationship between Alexander and his mother Olympias was the opposite, he loves his mother. Throughout the film, it’s evident that his mother Olympias plays a huge role in his life and involves herself in almost everything he does. An example of her involvement in Alexanders life begins even when he was a young kid. The scene where she brings in a small snake and tells Alexander to not be afraid, because if he is afraid the snake it will bite him. Not only that, Olympias goes on and teaches him few lessons, for instance, she says that no matter how close you are to someone and cherish them dearly, at the end of the day they will turn their backs on you and betray you. This was just the beginning of her engagement in Alexanders life, she maintains the same controlling attitude all throughout his life. Olympia’s goal is to get Alexander the throne which is why she pushes her ambitions onto her son Alexander.
Overall, having experienced the medium myself I feel that I have another understanding of Alexanders history and I think it can be helpful for others to use films as a medium as well to learn more. This method can be extremely beneficially to those who learn better visually and who enjoy watching films. The ultimate positive of watching films to learn history would be, the visual representation of everything. To explain this, films can be helpful to understand the historical events better, not everyone is capable to learn through lectures and notes therefore, films can cater to students who prefer learning through visuals. Particularly in history since the material being taught is usually past events and often times this can be hard to visualize in our minds, simply because it is far more complex to fully grasp a historical occurrence. Naturally, I would have not been able to imagine how Alexander the Great conquered the Persian empire but after watching the film it has given me a bit of imagination of what the reality would have been like at the time. As for the negative of watching films to learn would be that, sometimes the interpretation of a film can be different from the actual history being taught and be contradicting. However, this film on its own was captured well, Oliver Stone’s work on this particular film was respectable and connected adequately to Alexander the Great in the historical regard.