‘Gladiator’ Review: “Are You Not Entertained?”

Posted in The Screening Room by - April 30, 2015

Reader Submission month has been a trip. We’ve seen some horrible films and some fantastic films. A huge thank you to everyone who submitted something and if we didn’t include your submission, know that it was a tough decision to not include it. The final submission is quite possibly one of the greatest films ever produced. The Russell Crowe/Ripley Scott masterpiece, Gladiator

Next to The Fifth Element, Gladiator is hands down one of my favorite films, and for good reason. Very few films have such a commanding power over the viewer. Between its writing, artistic cinematography, exemplary score, and moving performances from its actors, Gladiator is a perennial “must see” film. Very few films act as a “Right of Pasage”, this is one of those films. 

We talk a lot about story telling here at Kulture Shocked and for good reason, story telling is what most of us here at Kulture Shocked consider to be the core of good film-making. There isn’t much use for a film that is only visually appealing if it doesn’t have any real substance. It’s equivalent to eating the thinnest steak you could find. Who wants to eat a 1 oz steak, even if it’s perfectly cooked? I sure as hell don’t. Films need substance, they need a good story, regardless of genre.

What sets Gladiator apart from good films is its peripheral components: the stunning visuals and moving soundtrack. These are how well your steak is cooked and what it’s paired with. These transform a steak from just a cut of meat. Similarly, cinematography and the accompanying score transform a good movie into a truly great movie. The combined artistic vision of Ripley Scott, John Mathieson, and Hans Zimmer created such a captivating work that a list of comparable films gets very short. We’re talking Apollo 13, Blade Runner, The Fifth Element, even Last Action Hero comes to mind.  

Finally, Gladiator posts some serious star power that is utilized to perfection. This is arguably one of my favorite performances from Russell Crowe (second place goes to Master and Commander). This is probably the true breakout performance for Joaquin Phoenix plus a stellar supporting cast that boasts Oliver Reed, Richard Harris, Derek Jacobi, and Djimon Honsou Even Ralf Moeller is incredibly dynamic, transitioning from straight man to comedian back to straight man with ease. 

If you haven’t seen Gladiator, that is something you need to fix immediately. As in right now.stop everything and go get watch it. It’s on Netflix. Gladiator is easily a film I watch multiple times a year and is one of the few films that if its happens to be on TV, even an hour in, I stop to watch it. 

Final Say: Jesus Christ, what are you doing with your life if you haven’t seen this? 

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