From the moment the movie starts the imagery grabs the audience and draws them in with action. The movie keeps the audience interested in what is going on with strong performances of Russel Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Neilsen, Djimon Hounsou, and many others. All emotions were felt as real from the actors. The fight scenes were filmed showing the power and the emotion of the soldiers, not just the fighting for the sake of it. Crowe's performance brought me close to tears when his character showed how much he loved and missed his wife and son. Phoenix embodied the bratty Commodus to a tee without being a caricature of this historical figure. He also played this role in a way that made the audience hate him at a very visceral level.
This film gets a point down for some historical inaccuracies. For instance gladiators did not fight with typically with metal swords, but often used wooden swords. Also, they typically did not fight to the death.
Even with these problems, this was a great film. It was the first movie to make me cry at the end in a long time.
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