Movie Review – Spartacus

Posted: June 22, 2013 in Movie Reviews
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Spartacus is very much a MGR film. He’d have loved to play the lead in the Indian version of it. In fact he has played similar role in one of his movies Ayirathil Oruvan. Kubricks major power, cinematography gets a beating because of the limitation during 60s. The scenes in the background made of sets are clearly visible but that doesn’t stop him from using as much extras as he has wanted. When he does war movies he loves filling the screen with people. I shouldn’t have watched Barry Lyndon. After Barry Lyndon every war movie looks minimal. That’s the reason why Spartacus didn’t work for me.


Spartacus (Kirk Douglas) is a rebellious slave who’s taken by Batiatus (Peter Ustinov) as gladiator. There too he rebels when his sweet heart is taken as slave by Crassus (Laurence Olivier). A riot ensures in Batiatus’ place and all the slaves free themselves with Spartacus being the moral leader. The riot scenes reminded me of Virumandi. Though Virumandi is well shot given the advantage of technology now. The slave group then ridicules the owners who had had them as slave. I loved the fight cheered by slaves and lighting the fire in the ass of the fighters.

These three characters, Spartacus, Batiatus and Crassus reminded me of Russel Crowe, Oliver Reed and Joaquin Phoenix in Gladiator. The latter fitted the role brilliantly in Gladiator and even here they’d have been the better choice. Kirk Douglas was decent though. But if you expect something like Paths of Glory then you’d end up disappointed. He didn’t look menacing enough for the role like how Surya lacked the power for his role in Ezam Arivu.

The main reason why Spartacus didn’t work for me was it was a tad too obvious. Everything went by as expected. You don’t expect something like that from Kubrick. May be because Kubrick wasn’t fully involved with the movie. “It is the only film directed by Kubrick where he did not have complete artistic control,” says Wikipedia. May be that’s the reason why it lacked the magnificence the Kubricks film has. It was more of a Kirk Douglas film made by him and for him.


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