Before watching the film I thought that this film was about a war of some sort, I thought a gladiator was a type of warrior, and I had no knowledge of the storyline before I had seen the film. By looking at the posters I saw a man dressed in armor that made me think that the film was set sum time in the past. I think the director is trying to show with the picture, that the film will have a lot of action to attract more viewers. I see the picture is colored with a lot of dull colors witch makes me think that there may be tragic scenes in the film.
To me it looks like the man in the picture is holding his sword down because he is showing confidence, it looks as if he doesn’t need to be on his guard and isn’t at all afraid. In the opening scene we hear slow music and the word “Gladiator” appears into the Roman Empire. When we first see the character of Maximus he is in a cornfield, he begins to daydream about happier times as he strokes the corn as he walks through the cornfield. While he daydreams warm colored lighting is used where as when he thinks of the battlefield darker colors are used, the only bright color used is red which to me signifies the color of blood.
We do not see the whole person in the daydream, we see his wedding ring witch looks rather classy, this shows he is married and quite wealthy. The person behaves calm and peacefully, he seems happy and as if he has nothing to worry about. As Maximus is a man of peace I believe he would rather be at home. This shows the audience what kind of attitude he has towards fighting, he doesn’t believe in it and only dose it necessarily. In the battle scene the director uses Maximus actions to show that Maximus is wearing wolf skin around his neck and metal armor.
The things he wears on his shoulders symbolize power and authority. During the battle Maximus confronted one of his own soldiers and smiled, that tells the audience he is calm and doesn’t show fear. This also tells us that Maximus is a good leader. The music slows down during the battle scene to change the feelings of the audience, the audience isn’t dragged into it, and it allows the audience to reflect on what happens. When Maximus enters the tent after the battle he washes his hands before he meets the emperor and throws away the towel.
This reminds me of Macbeth and when he tried washing his hands when there was no blood on them but he kept imagining the blood. Maximus is a respectable man and a man with authority, I as an audience believe he is a man I would make way for. In order to have an interesting plot u would need a villain or a bad guy, this brings excitement to the story and attracts more of an audience. The name “Commodos” means lucky in Latin, commodos was born so of the emperor. The name “Maximus” means greatest in Latin, Maximus worked his way up since he was small.
The director used these names for us (the audience) to reflect upon and think about. When we first see commodos in the coach there are lighting effects, one moment he’s in the light (good side) and the next he’s in the dark (bad side), this in a way signified that he was two faced. This makes the audience nervous and suspicious of that character. By looking at commodos eyes I noticed that they where difficult to see into, they were set into his face and where very dark. Eyes say a lot but in this case they didn’t reveal anything.
Commodos hair is black, where as his father Marcus’s hair is showing in the battle and we see that it is snowy white. When Commodos is sword fighting he tends to show of and uses poses, he knows he is safe. I think the audience would feel that commodos came into the story conveniently late. The use of language is very important to director for example when we first see Maximus he speaks English. The language spoken by the people they are fighting is a mixture of languages, fake languages as well as Germania (made up country).
As a member of the audience I would want to be on Maximus’s side because he brings me closer to him as he speaks English. When Maximus speaks to his soldiers he talks calmly and with authority, he speaks in a way that the soldiers would want to listen to. I believe he is reliable because of his calm and collective way of speaking. When commodos first arrived he said “have I missed the battle? ” when I herd that I didn’t believe he was disappointed to have missed the battle. I believe he was glad that he missed it, he already knew the answer.
After watching the fight the audience will find commodos as a selfish character, someone who is not to be trusted. After the battle Maximus say “Dirt washes off a lot easier then blood” this tells the audience that he doesn’t want to do it but he has to, the effect stays with him. After the first fight in the gladiatorial ring when Maximus said, “Are you not entertained is this not why u are here? ” he was talking to the audience, he was asking us to think about what we where actually watching, it makes us think “do I really like violence? At this point the audience may be changing their attitude towards the film because there is a lot of blood, violence and death.
The character of juba has constructed to show another side of Maximus character, for example juba first appears in the film after maximums is betrayed. Juba saved Maximus’s life, prior to this I had never seen Maximus helped by anyone else. Juba convinces Maximus that life is worth preserving by saying “you will meet your family when the time is right”.
Juba is a hunter. As a general in the roman army Maximus is Juba’s superior but Maximus never acts as thought he is superior to anyone. Maximus’s relationship with Juba shows the Maximus is seen comfortable with people. The fight in the colosseum can be described as “Bloody” however the camera angles never look down, they take us into the ring with the fighter’s intimacy. Most of the people who Maximus fights wear masks because this makes Maximus feel as if he’s killed something and not someone.
After the fight Maximus is tied up that image looked like Jesus, someone suffering for no reason. Ridley Scott used that image because he must have had his audience live in America, Christians. The effect created by the red flower petals (poppies) is war and blood. Commodos’s armor is white, he looks more like a statue. He wants himself to look like a god. It makes him look like a statue of a roman god. The director created this effect because it is more remote from the audience.
In conclusion I think Ridley Scott presents the character of Maximus as a popular, calm and brave soldier because he is comfortable with other people and he is a noble warrior. I as an audience feel sympathy for him because he is an underdog, he is a good man but bad things follow him. The director felt it was important to justify the violence because he wants you to think that it is more serious then just the blood and fighting. I think the director was successful in getting his message across to the audience because it made me think about violence.