My wife and I watched Gladiator recently. I have no idea how many times I've seen the movie, but probably at least twenty. It's been a few years, though, and so I was excited to see it again. It's twelve years old--for some films this spells death. Gladiator, however, still stands tall as an excellent piece of cinematic storytelling.
Ridley Scott is a director with class. I can't tell you how much I appreciate this as a movie viewer. Since Gladiator, HBO has done Rome, and STARZ the awful Spartacus. Both television series show the Romans in all their terrifying depravity. Gladiator, however, chooses to focus on a Rome where the hideous underbelly is evident but unseen. Scott builds his Rome around the story he is telling, rather than the story around Rome. So yes, there are plenty of historical inaccuracies (like the Roman horsemen riding with stirrups... stirrups didn't exist until many centuries later), but none so glaring that they take away from the experience. The themes are still relevant, the acting still superb. And damn. That Russell Crowe is one sexy dude!
I think this film saw Ridley Scott at the pinnacle of his directorial abilities. Since then, there is a noticeable decline in his productions. (I did like Kingdom of Heaven... as long as it was the director's cut version; Robin Hood was okay; Body of Lies and American Gangster lackluster at best.) I find it interesting that artists tend to hit a high mark and then never quite achieve it again. Some hit it really early in their careers (Orson Scott Card), while others come into their brilliance rather late (George R.R. Martin). Gladiator is on hell of a movie to top Scott's decades-long contribution to cinema.
Not much else to say really. (I just wanted an excuse to put this sweet picture on my blog.) If you're like me and it's been a while since you've seen Gladiator, go enjoy it again. If you've never seen it... shame on you.
-Oh, and ever since watching I've been trying to convince Rhonda to let me name a son Proximo. How freak'n cool would that be?