Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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Viewed in an academic and historical context within the pantheon of the Classics, I would say it is a glorious accomplishment. This is because it provides such a rich and elegant, colorful visual reference to our shared ancient history.
How exotic was it with the tribal dance segments, or the Babylolonian Hanging Gardens (one of the ancient wonders of the world. Find me an "illustration" of the Gardens because that's all we got), or how about the snake courting Vedic Hindus in the elephant stormed jungles of India. How intriguing, the mythic wonders of the WORLD now given color, dancing, fire, battle and pure effulgence.
This is a movie which provides a visual reference for what the dissemination of Western civilization would have looked like.
It shows Greece (Macedon was decidedly considered Greek in the early 5th century invention of the Olympics. the Greek city states only allowed true Greeks to participate in the Olympics and it was decided collectively that the Macedonian were granted were subsequently considered Greek because they were granted permission to play. This film shows how one small city state, the host of Plato and Alexander's teacher Aristotle show the forging and destiny of our modern Western world.
Again, I stress it is a top success in that it provides a beautiful visual reference that can allow us to see the past.
I have been robbed of this by just reading textbooks and watching directors make fantasy epics when the history itself is more interesting. How many low budget Roman shows have we been given that fail to achieve a realistic depiction of what the past looked like.
This film is narrated in epic verse, it is intentionally replicating the tone and style of what we see as baroque and Homeric in its Sophoclean gusto.
But sorry to say just like Shakespeare and just like the Bible we will always associate a different tone to past epics that were written in a different vernacular.
This is also a great throwback to classic cinema epics. Like Cleopatra, Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Zhivago, Ghandi. The film is in all respects an Epic like Ben Hur or Giant.
Be warned there are some problems with this film, some major casting issues, certain over the top aspects people today do not relish. Most of all does it have historical inaccuracies (gaugamela was not the battle where Alexander charged Darius, or when Clietus saves his life. That was the battle of Issus and Granicus, essentially Oliver Stone just smudges them all together) but that's fine these things are tough to always get right.
Over all I feel so much better with this depiction of the ancient world because now it has filled in the gaps where no other director will ever go.
- This was written by Gabriel Verveniotis who is the author of The Sanguinaires Or What I Hate Most about Everything, available in stores and online.