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Last Updated: Friday, 26 November, 2004, 11:11 GMT
Stone's hope for Alexander praise
Oliver Stone
Stone's previous films include Platoon and JFK
Oliver Stone has said he believes his historical epic Alexander will receive a better reception in Europe after it was slated by US film critics.

The film-maker was picking up a lifetime achievement award at the Stockholm International Film Festival.

"I think one of the reasons I am being honoured here is Europeans tend to see me a little differently than they do in the US," he said.

He added it "was not an easy movie, but then I've never made easy movies".

The film had its European premiere at the 15th Swedish festival on Thursday.

Modern day comparisons

The festival jury said Stone was being given the Bronze Horse award for "fearless exploration of individual lives affected by the modern day America".

Angelina Jolie in Alexander
Angelina Jolie plays Alexander's mother Olympias

During his long career, Stone "has challenged mainstream norms and created a deeply personal and political cinematic world", they added.

His films include JFK, Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July and Natural Born Killers.

Some critics of his latest project have compared Alexander the Great's efforts to expand his empire into the Middle East with US President George Bush's invasion of Iraq.

Stone has said there are "incredible parallels" between the former Macedonian leader and President Bush.

The film, starring Colin Farrell in the lead role, opened in the US on Wednesday to a savage reception from critics.

The New York Times said Alexander had "puerile writing, confused plotting and shockingly off-note performances".

The Los Angeles Times called it an "indifferent epic" that was merely a vanity project from Stone.

Colin Farrell in Alexander
Colin Farrell plays Alexander the Great in the film

But novelist Gore Vidal has defended it, saying it was "barrier-breaking" for its frank depiction of bisexuality.

The portrayal of Alexander as bisexual and having a relationship with childhood friend and battle commander Hephaistion, played by Jared Leto, has stirred controversy and the threat of legal action from Greek lawyers.

Visually attractive

Most reviewers were less generous, saying the battle scenes and historical reconstructions were the film's best points.

Trade paper Variety said: "Startling visions of antiquity, the likes of which have never before been put on the screen, will surely stay in the mind long after the dramatic vicissitudes have been forgotten."

"But much of the nearly three-hour running time is devoted to knotty personal and geopolitical issues that most viewers won't give a hoot about," critic Todd McCarthy added.



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