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Alexander Revisited: The Final Cut

Genre: , ,

Cast: Colin Farrell, Jared Leto, Anthony Hopkins, David Bedella, Jessie Kamm, Angelina Jolie, Val Kilmer, Rosario Dawson

Director: Oliver Stone

Rated: NR

Review By:
Rocco Passafuime

SUNY Purchase '05

"I don't compromise my values and I don't compromise my work. I won't give in." -Michael Moore

Release Date: February 27th, 2007
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Overall Grade: C

Alexander Revisited: The Final Cut

Review By: Rocco Passafuime

Alexander Revisited: The Final Cut

In recent years, there has been no high-profile film in Hollywood that has gotten a more unfavorable response than Alexander. When the film was released theatrically in 2004, it was critically panned for its overwhelmingly epic scope and its controversial portrayal of the famous ruler's sexuality.

When the American audience response was dismal, the expensive film's notorious director Oliver Stone blamed the lack of interest in the U.S. on homophobia and the film's epic length. He appealed to this audience when the film was released on DVD by releasing a shorter, faster-paced, and less homoerotic director's cut edition in July 2005.

However, Alexander was a massive and personally important film to Stone and felt neither the theatrical nor the more commercially viable "director's cut" represented his complete vision for the film. Stone has been given the rare opportunity to release a third edition of the film on DVD, titled Alexander Revisited: The Final Cut, which he considers the true definitive cut of his very controversial film.

The film tells the story of a famous Macedonian King, who by the age of 25, had amassed a huge and nearly global empire. Despite being the son of the great King Phillip II (Val Kilmer), Alexander (Colin Farrell), who was born illegitimately to the Eprote princess Olympias (Angelina Jolie), struggles to achieve greatness in the family bloodline, of which there is constant dispute of him descending from.

When Phillip II is assassinated, it is Alexander who is named his successor. In a vow to avenge his father and live up his role, Alexander, along with his trusted companion Hemphastion (Jared Leto), begins a lengthy, ambitious, and seemingly impossible conquest to conquer the Eastern region.

Despite his passions lying strongly with Hemphastion, Alexander weds the Persian-raced Roxane (Rosario Dawson), under the veil of promoting racial harmony, in the hopes of gaining a biracial successor to the throne of his world empire. However, his men soon see his ambitious conquering of Asia as nothing more than foolish arrogance of a self-centered egotist and their increasing disapproval results in the great king's undoing.

This new cut of Alexander manages to largely achieve Stone's goal of being able to present the film completely as he sees fit without any studio interference or fear of audience reaction whatsoever. The result is a cut of Alexander with Stone going all out and holding nothing back.

The film adds 50 minutes of new footage, as well as an intermission break after the first-two thirds of the film, which spans two discs. Much of this new edition is largely more like the film's original cut and much of the change comes from Stone, with his newfound freedom, going all out with the character development of Alexander himself.

As a result, the controversial homoeroticism of Alexander's personality is made more revelatory than ever before. The addition of more Alexander scenes, while

it makes an already incredibly bloated film even more so, does help make his character's development a bit more clear, which was more problematic in the earlier cuts.

However, all the change does little to improve what is obviously a deeply flawed film. While the film's costumes, set pieces, and battle scenes are lavish, the film's story is still incredibly massive in scope with too much for the viewer to absorb into one film, though the new intermission break is a welcome inclusion and does lessen this problem.

Also, the enormous plot is made even more difficult to follow as the film's story constantly jumps back and forth in the time period. While many of the actors give often fantastic performances throughout the film, Colin Farrell performs well as an obviously mercurial and self-indulgent ruler, but is unable to help his difficult and often petulantly childish character resonate with the audience. Also, Angelina Jolie, while on the surface fits the role of Olympias well, her performance is often distractingly over-the-top.

Its picture quality is presented in the 2:35:1 anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio and the sound quality is presented in Dolby Surround 5.1.

There's little in the way of special features for this massive film, other than an introduction by director Oliver Stone. The filmmaker does a good job explaining clearly the purpose of this third cut and his intent for it, which makes anyone reluctant to view more willing to do so.

While Alexander Revisited: The Final Cut is undoubtedly the clearest version of the film in developing Alexander's highly complex personality and life, it does little to change how much of the film is shortchanged by its epic scope, time-jumping storytelling, and often emotionally-lacking and self-indulgent characters. For fans and anybody open-minded enough to view this highly complex film in its fullest artistic intention, this is the version to watch. Otherwise, not even the more commercially viable and easier-to-swallow Director's Cut will do much to sway the film's inherent flaws for casual viewers.

Movie Grade: C
Special Features Grade: B
Overall Grade: B-

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