‘Gladiator’ is a movie that I revisit often. Despite the advancements the film industry has seen in technology, it still holds up. Join me in analysing ‘Gladiator’, a modern classic.
Ridley Scott’s directing has a poetry to it, a rhythm. Every frame is dilligently arranged, each character or prop appearing in shot exactly when it should. This directing mastery makes for a thrilling cinematic experience.
Hans Zimmer’s exquisite soundtrack is a large part of the film’s emotional ressonance. Zimmer almost captures a feeling or emotion in a sound. The atmosphere of the score perfectly suits the setting.
It is strange to say that a piece of music sounds like ancient Rome, but somehow it does. It helps that Scott knows how to implement a good score.
There is a theatrical sheen over everything that the lens lands on. Scott did not try to shoot the film in an ultra realistic way like a lot of today’s offerings. Scott was satisfied to make a movie.
‘Gladiator’ features a lot of action set pieces and one-liners but it is not a big dumb adventure film. The writing is incredible, there is an abundance of detail and information left between the lines in scenes of dialogue. The world is rich with complex relationships and the adventure is grand, it makes it feel like a colossal work.
The death of Marcus Aurelius in the intro is easily the best scene in the movie. Superb scripting couples with emotive acting to make gripping cinema.
Despite the fact that he is the villain, Joaquin Phoenix makes you sympathise with Commodus. He is a tragic character that just wanted his father’s love.
Richard Harris is a force of nature in this film. He carries all of the gravitas of the real man, every line he speaks is dripping with wisdom and emotional weight. His death feels grossly unjust. His presence is felt throughout the film, in-keeping with the most famous quote of the movie: “What we do in life, echoes in eternity”.
The script of ‘Gladiator’ is ambitious to say the least. However, Ridley Scott; Hans Zimmer and the cast bring it to life.