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(Review originally written at 10 January 2004)

I have heard many people refer to this movie as a "Braveheart" rip-off or as a movie that tried to make some cash out of the success of "Braveheart". I don't think that's completely fair. Sure there are some similarities but "Gladiator" is original enough with an own unique style.

The movie has a very good unique atmosphere like we are used from Ridley Scott movies. Visually the movie looks wonderful (with the exception of a few fake looking background shots of Rome). Especially the battle scene's (the gladiator fights in particular) are filmed in a wonderful way with some good editing and are something you have never seen before. You can almost feel the tension and fear and smell the sweat of the gladiators when they are entering the arena.

The acting is top class! Russell Crowe is a great leading man but was his role Oscar worthy? I don't think so, he deserved an Oscar more for his role in "A Beautiful Mind". Joaquin Phoenix gives an impressive performance and the same goes for Richard Harris, Oliver Reed and yes, Spencer Treat Clark that shows his talent.

What makes the movie even more complete is the excellent musical score by Hans Zimmer and the great looking costumes and epic settings and feeling.

But no the movie is not perfect. The story at times is messy and at times it loses it's speed. It feels like it's just a lame excuse to fill up the scene's between the gladiator fights. Also some characters and moments don't feel needed at all, I don't know I can't really put my finger on it. But it's not a bad thing, the good things about the movie makes you actually forget the bad things.

Worth watching if only just for the spectacular and impressive battle scene's.

9/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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