- Summary -
Director : Oliver Stone
Year Of Release : 2004
Principal Cast : Colin Farrell, Val Kilmer, Angelina Jolie, Anthony Hopkins, Jared Leto, Rosario Dawson, Christopher Plummer, David Bedella, Fiona O’Shaughnessy, Brian Blessed, Gary Stretch, John Kavanagh, Nick Dunning, Joseph Morgan, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Denis Conway, Neil Jackson, Rory McCann, Tim Pigott-Smith, Toby Kebbell, Connor Paolo, Elliot Cowan, Patrick Carroll.
Approx Running Time : 167 Minutes
Synopsis: The story of Alexander, King of Macedonia, as he strives to increase his kingdom by conquering the known world.
What we think : Bold, epic, committed film version of the life of Alexander The Great is also a gargantuan misfire – somehow, not even Oliver Stone could make this film work (and he tried four times!). Colin Farrell is a great Alexander, and the rest of the cast do solid work, but the talky script and uneven narrative, lacking cohesive tone or even decent plot, makes for a clunky movie. The soaring score from Vangelis often feels more like elevator music, and Stone concocts some terrific battle sequences, but in the end, the audience can’t invest in anything because it just flat-out sucks.
Fortune favors the bald.
When Oliver Stone’s biographical film of controversial historical figure, Alexander The Great, arrived in cinemas in 2004, it was met with the wet critical acclaim of a sodden turd. Bereft of audience investment and scorned by both critics and casual audiences (because critics aren’t “casual audiences”, apparently), Alexander suffered the ignominy of being nominated for a slew of Golden Raspberry awards, as well as being something of a box office bomb, only barely making back its production budget of $155m. After such a dismal result, Warner Bros allowed Stone to return to the editing bay to produce a “Director’s Cut”, smoothing out many of the film’s troubling subplots, extraneous sequences, and other material audiences felt didn’t quite work. That was in 2005, a year after release. In 2007, Stone again went back to the well, this time throwing everything he liked into the film, producing a 214 (!) minute “Final Unrated Cut”, which restructured the film from the ground up, and added a whole heap of backstory into the narrative. Not content with this, Stone re-edited the film for a fourth time, producing the “Ultimate Cut”, in 2012, which was shorter than the “Final” cut, and once again tried to smooth out narrative lethargy and characterization troubles. Is Alexander the kind of film that warrants four distinct versions of the same film? Not one jot, if I’m honest, although it’s brave of both Stone and Warner Brothers to even try; at least they did try, something which can’t be said of a lot of film-makers today, content to release substandard material and actually call it “art”. Alexander might not be a success either financially or creatively, but the effort cannot be understated. While I lacked the dedication to really go the whole hog in watching all 4 versions of this film, I felt qualified enough with this Director’s Cut to give it a shake on DVD and reappraise a story now a decade old, see if it still stinks like it did originally.