Movies Reviews

‘Gladiator’ slays – literally. But with feeling.

From the official 'Gladiator' Facebook page.

Sharon, Massachusetts, U.S.A. – I’m not a very emotional person when it comes to watching movies. But director Ridley Scott’s Gladiator from 2000 managed to get through even the most guarded layers of my emotions, leaving me a sobbing mess.

The characters and the powerful storytelling of this movie deeply moved me.

Russel Crowe’s performance as the protagonist Maximus was nothing short of legendary. From the very beginning, we see how powerful of a general he is, so powerful that the emperor confides in him more than he does his own son.

As someone who is very interested in the history of ancient Rome, Gladiator did an excellent job showing the audience what fighting in the Colosseum was like. His fight scenes and his interactions with the other characters always kept me at the edge of my seat.

But what made this movie so astonishing was the raw emotion Crowe used. His lines are so poetic and there are many memorable moments where his words cut through the screen with a profound impact. 

These lines aren’t just words in a script – they are powerful expressions of resilience and honor, showing his spirit after he lost everyone he ever loved. 

One of his most famous lines, “My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius,” has so much power because this is when Maximus reveals his identity after Emperor Commodus thought he was dead.

The soundtrack also does an amazing job of emphasizing this. 

When Maximus declares himself, he’s not just stating his name, he’s stating his unwavering commitment to justice. For the former emperor – who in the film was murdered – and for his family, and for all of Rome. 

I also applaud Joaquin Phoenix, who plays the antagonist Commodus, the son of the slain emperor.

Phoenix’s portrayal of Commodus brings a chilling vulnerability to the screen. He was a great enemy because the movie showed a side of him that is relatable.

Commodus’s internal struggles – like his desperate need for validation from his father – go beyond the stereotypical villain. Of course that doesn’t excuse the awful things he did to Maximus, but it adds a layer of humanity to his character. 

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a fan of gripping drama, or simply seeking an unforgettable movie experience, Gladiator deserves a spot on your must-watch list.

Shiara Naveen is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

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