What we do in life echoes in eternity.

Where to begin? Gladiator is a masterpiece of cinema, the likes of which has rarely been replicated. That opening scene of Maximus (Russell Crowe) walking through the fields of wheat gets me every time, as I remember what is to come at the end of the film.

The cinematography here is marvelous. Ridley Scott and the rest of the crew really brought ancient Rome to life, immersing the viewer in that world through the costumes and set pieces and atmosphere. I have read complaints that the film isn’t historically accurate, but who cares? If you want ultimate accuracy, watch a documentary or read a text book. Gladiator sets out to entertain the audience and tell a meaningful story. And are you not entertained?

Russell Crowe’s performance here is legendary, as is Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of Commodus. The audience is able to feel loss and sadness and righteous anger through Maximus, and the disturbing and deranged character of Commodus is a catalyst to those emotions. Connie Nielsen’s performance as Lucilla is also noteworthy, as she conveys the terror and restraint and divided emotions of her character perfectly.

Ridley Scott manages to balance brutal action, heartfelt drama, and political intrigue masterfully, arranging the pieces into a final product that never feels sluggish or dull. The musical score is one of my favorites and compliments the events on the screen to great effect.

Needless to say that this film is one of my favorites of all time. Rarely does an epic of this magnitude succeed so gloriously, and it is for that reason that Gladiator will be remembered for many years to come.

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