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Thread: ALEXANDER REVISITED (2004/ Oliver Stone)

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    ALEXANDER REVISITED (2004/ Oliver Stone)

    Oliver Stone's Alexander is my favorite film of his, along with The Doors.
    Many many people despise the film, and I get it. I haven't met anyone who likes it, actually.
    I'm all alone in defence of it. Fine by me.

    The DVD release is basic, bare bones, with only an introduction with Oliver. In it he explains why he had three edits of the film, and why this version "Revisited" is the definitive version demanded by the story itself. Oliver says he was haunted by the film and that he needed to go back to it and re-cut it into a more expansive and action-packed epic.
    Criticisms can still be fired at it- don't get me wrong- in fact here's a glaring one that I noticed: there are WAY too many jumps in time frames.
    Oliver, you can trust the viewer enough to follow the idea that you are telling a story over different years (in flashback) of Alexander's life.
    We can follow you on that. But here you jump (edit.cut) way too much- it becomes disorienting after a while. You start to lose track. Was that your intent? To have the audience just as overwhelmed by Alexander as his enemies were?

    Oliver has been raked over the coals for ages for his "interpretations" of history. He's been attacked from all sides by everybody it seems.
    I see that as a great thing, that a film director can get people so fired up, get debates and national dialogues going on everything from war, drug wars, geo-politics, CIA blowback, mass media, wall street and 9/11. He's a great American to me, just for active and creative ACTION. He's not merely commenting on something, not merely showing you something, he's ahead of you one step further: what will you DO about these topical current or historical events? How does it affect you? Are you passive about it? Indifferent? He really is conscious to me, Oliver. A great man and a great director. I think his politics aren't exactly jake with mine, but whose are, anyway? Does anybody's politics match up 100% with anyone you meet? Hell no. Oliver has seen a lot, experienced a lot, and he's given a lot back. I've attained perspectives from his films- really powerful ones. Ones that brand you, scar you almost. Pauline Kael hated Oliver. Couldn't endure his cinema.
    Oliver winning the Oscar for Best Picture for Platoon kind of gave him a backlash. He stole Stanley Kubrick's thunder, and possibly his first Oscars for Directing and Best Picture by releasing Platoon before Full Metal Jacket. I believe without any doubt that had Full Metal Jacket been released first, it would have won those Oscars. No doubt in my mind. Oliver shot Platoon guerrilla style, on a tight schedule and a tight budget.
    Stanley was taking his sweet time with Full Metal Jacket with millions of dollars of Warner Brothers' money.

    Cut to 2004. Warner Brothers releases Alexander for Oliver, but I'm not quite sure how much money (millions?) they gave Oliver to make it- I think there were several financial backers for Alexander, not just WB.

    Getting back to the DVD/film, I realize it is one of the most hated films in the history of the medium. I get it. People feel like it's just a bloated, badly acted, badly paced, poorly directed movie. And maybe they are right. But my reasoning for loving this movie- I even called it the Best Film of 2004 on this site- is purely because I was given an impression of Alexander the Great and the times he lived in. I learned about history with this film. Period. We know it's not accurate, and we know it's obviously not a literal depiction of Macedonia and Greece and Babylon. It is Oliver's tone poem to that history. To Virgil. To the Nobility of Mythology and the axiom of "Always Being Remembered" as a mantra.
    As Oliver said, Colin Farrell has the "necessary roughness" to play Alexander. He was young enough at the time and I am able to suspend belief in him. At first I didn't. But after seeing the movie as many times as I have, he's the right choice. "Alexander be Merciful"

    Angelina Jolie, on the other hand, is the main weakness of this movie. Her celebrity I feel overwhelms the role she's playing, which is a very crucial one, that of Alexander's mother. She's OK, I guess, in her acting, but I am distracted while looking at her. And her accent is like Miss Kitka's in the Batman movie. Phony, Dracula-ish, not a real accent. Val Kilmer is solid, as always. Val's a Hall of Famer to me. Concrete talent. Always interesting.
    Anthony Hopkins as Ptolemy works marvelously. who doesn't like Tony Hopkins?

    This film is long- it pushes 4 hours.
    The only real cricism I have is the jumping back and forth in times. Too frequent Oliver! It gets disorienting after a while, no joke. Titles, dates, different mid-action cuts...it all becomes one big block. I can see through it to what you are telling us with world history (and I appreciate it).
    This film has few fans, but I watch it once a month. It has that much of a pull on me.
    Last edited by Johann; 04-07-2014 at 11:41 PM.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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