Alexander Revisited: The Final Cut Oliver Stone

Oliver Stone first told the tale of our favourite Macedonian conqueror at the length of 175 minutes. Then came the "director’s cut” DVD, which (perhaps mercifully) cut things down to 167 minutes. But now there is Stone’s "final cut,” which weighs in at a titanic 214 minutes, and he makes you pay for every heavy, unappetising second. No matter how many titles he flashes on the screen, Stone can’t make you keep track of what happens in the battle scenes or catch the personalities of Alexander’s various comrades at arms. It isn’t a movie, it’s a dare, and as the director pours on the lighting and production design you don’t really see what it is that attracted him to the material. Stone has been comparing presidents to royalty for a long time now (JFK was known as "your dying king”) but I just don’t get how a bitter veteran of a pointless colonial war could somehow hoist his bat for the biggest colonist of them all. Though Alexander eventually meets his Waterloo in a Vietnam-like quagmire in India, he’s mostly lauded for bringing the world together beneath one banner no matter how many people died for it. Still, you have to dig for significance like that — one doesn’t get a sense of what happens in Alexander’s life so much as you get battered with various episodes told out of sequence and after a while you just cry uncle and wait for it to end. And as it even lacks the vulgar juice of vintage berserker Stone, the film looks like any other tired epic except for feeling twice as long. The only extra: a vague intro by the director himself. (Warner)