Per Gunnar Jonsson
My wife picked this one up together with the weekly TV magazine. Luckily we didn't pay full price. I hoped for a film about one of the greatest warlord of all time but what I got was something about a crying homosexual wimp.
Alexander Revisited: The Final Cut. Alexander is directed by Oliver Stone and Stone co-writes the screenplay with Christopher Kyle and Laeta Kalogridis. It stars Colin Farrell, Val Kilmer, Angelina Jolie, Jared Leto, Anthony Hopkins, Rosario Dawson, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Christopher Plummer. Music is by Vangelis and cinematography by Rodrigo Prieto. Alexander is an historical epic based on the life of Alexander the Great. Off the bat I have to say that this "Final Cut" version of the film is the only one I have seen. Upon its initial home format release - the first theatrical version - I lasted an hour and 15 minutes before growing restless and sought enjoyment elsewhere. Consequently as a massive fan of historical epics through the years, it has been a constant nagging itch for me to see Alexander in its entirety. So with Oliver Stone tinkering away with versions - convinced he has made a worthwhile epic - I finally delved in. The Final Cut, as far as I'm aware, is a vast improvement on that savagely received theatrical release, well that is said by those who tried again instead of calling quits at the first production. Straight away I could see the difference, where once was a plodding first hour, now sits a vibrancy, with Stone seemingly saying that he can do great action and drama, just please hang around during all the historical chatter, sexual connotation, family strife and conquering machinations, and I will enthral you as a whole. By his own admission, Stone reveals he took on a most complex historical character and in his eyes has made a film to befit such complexity. We get a splintered narrative, as we kick off with the crux of Alexander the Great, the leader, while Alexander's childhood and family forming is interspersed at various junctures. The battles are high in intensity and blood letting - exhilarating at times - but more crucially they let us engage with the tactical "ahead of their time" manoeuvres of Alexander the Great. This version mostly flows alright, and I got to feel how Alexander's mind was working in the process, even if come pics closure I didn't fully know the man. Epically cast of course, some of them work, others not so much. Farrell's looked odd, in the way that Pitt's was in Troy (released this same year as Alexander), but apart from the accent issue he grows into the role and is fiercely committed. Jolie is just wrong for the role of domineering Olympias, worse still the scenes she does with Farrell are damp and threaten to derail the drama already built up. This latter point is more annoying given a great thread involving Dawson as Alexander's wife Roxanne is built up superbly, only to not be pulled until some drama very late in the play. The rest of the cast come through as ok for period flavours (expected for Hopkins, Plummer and Meyers, interesting as regards Leto). This is not the life ambition masterpiece Stone wanted to make, even if he proclaims on the extras that he's happy and content with The Final Cut version. This cut still shows some cracks, but these are not seismic enough to hurt the film. For there's a lot of grandeur, blood stirring and thought gone into the production, and there's a lot to be said for that in this day and age of soulless cash making filmic exercises. Honourable failure then? Yes for sure, but a better film in this form than some may have thought possible back in 2004. 7/10
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