Oliver Stone is best known for crafting a raft of incendiary political thrillers, but once the big budget historical epic became fashionable again at the turn of the 21st Century following the success of Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, the filmmaker seized the opportunity to finally bring his passion project to life.
The Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, JFK and Nixon director had spent over a decade developing Alexander before production finally got underway armed with a budget of $155 million and a star-studded ensemble led by Colin Farrell as the legendary leader, while Angelina Jolie, Val Kilmer, Anthony Hopkins, Jared Leto, Rosario Dawson, Christopher Plummer and Jonathan Rhys Meyers filled out the supporting cast.
Alexander bombed hard at the box office in 2004 after only earning $167 million, but Stone was far from done with the movie, and he went on to release another three versions. There’s the theatrical edition, a Director’s Cut, Alexander Revisited: The Final Unrated Cut and Alexander: The Ultimate Cut, and for those brave enough to tackle a widely panned drama that runs for 214 minutes. the Final Cut was added to Netflix on April 6th.
Of course, there were also a couple of controversies swirling around Alexander in the buildup to its release, with 25 Greek lawyers threatening to sue Stone and Warner Bros. for historical inaccuracies largely related to the depictions of homosexuality, and in typically understated style, the director would go on to blame ‘raging fundamentalism’ for the film’s critical and commercial failure. The truth is that none of the four cuts result in a great movie, but perhaps Netflix’s 200 million customers will finally see the major flop find a sizeable audience at long last.