42 Great Directors: Ridley Scott

“The digital and theatrical markets are two different marketplaces. I think the digital marketplace – thank God for it! – is like having a book on the shelf: so you can actually go to that book and if it’s four hours long, you can put it on pause, you can have a beer – no one’s counting.”


What Got This Director Here?
: Alien and Blade Runner.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: Blade Runner.

What Did I Watch: The Counselor and a rewatch of Gladiator.

Where Does He Fit: Ridley Scott’s reputation rests on whatever magic he had going for him in the early days in his career plus his brief Thelma and Louise comeback, but this movie’s status as something directed by a one-timer wouldn’t shock me. Everything in this is a constant stream of words, a mess of characters spouting off something about nothing. Inevitability is the name of the game, and Scott’s direction here is surprisingly on point, with color coding and tricks with sheets that harken back to a film that is more clever and old school…so of course, it was wildly underrated and violently hated. Car fucking’s admittedly pretty strange in a debatable way.

Javier Bardem Cameron Diaz
I expected to really hate Gladiator on rewatch, but I wound up finding it average in that way that is nevertheless a tad annoying since it falls into so many traps that were easy to avoid. The editing is a nightmare of incoherence that is shot by Ridley during his especially crappy 2000s phase when he was much too fond of bland color schemes and closeups, but the pacing works splendidly and Russell Crowe’s star turn helps push a lot of stupidity through. (Joaquin Phoenix proves exactly why he should have stuck to working with auteurs from the beginning.) Still, it’s ultimately a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.

gladiator-2000-russell-crowe-joaquin-phoenix-maximus

Most Valuable Asset: Uh…visual style?
Most Excited For: The Duellists.
Did They Deserve a Spot?: Yes, but he’s absurdly high.

Coming Up Next: Smutty comedian Ernst Lubitsch.

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