I recently heard Oliver Stone talk about wanting to recut this film, after two different versions have already released. Just what is it that drew him to this, and more importantly what is sabotaging it?
Well, the film is a mess and a half. Long, and many irrelevant scenes and endless exposition from a minor character, as well as from the principal people, make this a hard film to watch. It’s a history lesson from an old Greek, and it’s melodrama amped up to eleven. It’s got exciting battles, but these are undermined by endless speeches and I’m not quite sure Colin Farrell was the right actor for the job.
Stone chose to include many scenes that should have been cut, and failed to include other developments that would have fleshed out the story better. Alexander ends up inhabiting a pretty low spot on the director’s filmography.
Perhaps Alexander’s homosexuality made him an interesting character for a certain time and place today. As gayness is opened up and more acceptable than before, the original larger than life gay character should have had his opportunity to make inroads. Not sure of the lgbt cult status, but that may have been a part of the calculus.
I actually liked Angelina Jolie and her strained accent, as Alexander’s witchy mother. Only, I didn’t like many of the specific scenes, how they were filmed, staged. It seemed clunky and inconsistent. Part of it shows like prime time TV, and other parts like a psychedelic experience. I’d prefer the latter, but it’s indicative that more than the appearance was inconsistent.
Anthony Hopkins’ endless monologue should have met with some whiteout. His entire character lacks any development for the entirety of the film, excepting the final scene. But it’s not just his monologues, as Alexander and several others also go on and on at length, dropping the tension and the plot right out of the chariot.
The Source Family, an actual talking head documentary was more visually interesting and suspenseful, always telling the story through visuals and leaving the talking heads behind. Stone seems to have drank his own Kool Aid on this one, substituting a history lesson for drama. But even as history, there are large gaping holes in Alexander’s development. So much isn’t included, making it frustrating when the stuff that is included lags.
Perhaps readers may expect me to compare the film to Caligula, as my review of it still draws a good number of readers here. There is no comparison. Caligula is a total masterpiece up against this psychobabbling, over the top payday. Sorry, Oliver.
This battle was lost at the script stage. And no recut can salvage that. Let it go.
I was suckered into sitting through this thing at the $2 theater. We had to waste some time and sober up for a while.
Everything you’ve heard about it is true. Abysmally bad, an insult to humanity, really. It tasted like a soup with ice cream and marmalade and pork and garlic, hot sauce, chocolate syrup, chipotle, beer, ginger, confectioners sugar – blended all up while John Phillip Sousa music blares at 11. In other words, something like this:
I felt like a giant Mickey Rat tortured me for six hours. In other words a fun time for all, and some others in the theater called it a “great movie,” to their impressionable children no less.
In the words of the prophet, Bill Hicks, “Boy, is my thumb not on the pulse of America.”
They appeared to try. So it was difficult to figure why it is so unwatchable. It doesn’t know if it’s a slapstick comedy or a chilling drama about genocide, and the corporate scum at the top of the chain don’t really give a fuck. Perhaps it was re-imagined by a computer program and directed by some experimental DARPA funded director-bot. At least if it was a robot in beta testing we could cut the guy some slack, but I have a feeling this hack is still consuming our precious oxygen.
All ten parts are including.
Oliver Stone fumbles 9/11 completely (part 9), citing “incompetence” and showing zero of the evidence of complicity and cover-up, of Saudi Arabian intelligence participation and the evidence of the whistleblowers such as Senator Bob Graham.
In part one Stone also ignored evidence of foreknowledge of the Pearl Harbor attack. This is not the definitive history of the modern age. Its broad strokes are fine and well, but specifics are not completely reliable.
Extensive documentary on the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency:
Part 1: The Company
Part 2: The Deep State
Part 3: The Strategy of Tension
Part 4: Necrophilous
Part 5 – Drone Nation
Part one alone is a priceless education on the history of ‘the company.’ More mind blowing stuff at Metanoia Films.
New documentary brings the nine Catholic clergy members, who started the raids on draft board offices, to the big screen
David Swanson has more…
The CIA has been so busy consulting on Zero Dark Thirty, not to mention funding Hamid Karzai, bribing Russians, lying about weapons, and conducting humanitarian drone murders, that it didn’t have any time at all to help out with Hit and Stay, and yet arguably the latter turned out to be the better film despite such a severe handicap. You can check it out at http://hitandstay.com
This is a film about people taking risks to prevent killing rather than to engage in it. The focus is on the Catonsville Nine action on May 17, 1968, 45 years ago this Friday. That action, in which activists burned draft cards and apologized for burning papers rather than children, was preceded by the Baltimore Four action of October 27, 1967, in which four activists poured their blood on draft papers. It was followed by countless other actions, leading right up to the Transform Plowshares action in Tennessee for which three are currently awaiting sentencing.
The Catonsville action received so much publicity that it had something of an Occupy effect. That is, others who felt the same way about the slaughter of the Vietnamese people but didn’t believe they could do anything, suddenly began doing something. Some did very similar actions. Others tried their own approaches to the same problem. Catonsville Nine inspired other tactics, enlarged marches and rallies, and generally moved the peace movement forward. The creativity and novelty of the action even made people think about the war who hadn’t before.
Draft records were destroyed, preventing the drafting of those people. So, this was substantive resistance that couldn’t be undone. At the same time it was educational and inspirational. It didn’t inspire sadistic shouts of “Bin Laden’s dead!” It inspired people to act on their moral outrage. There were over 100 actions taken at draft boards over the next few years. Many thousands of people’s draft records were destroyed, saving them from the draft and saving those they would have killed from that fate. Some of the draft offices were shut down permanently. In the end the Selective Service declared it was under assault, and Nixon declared that the military would now be volunteer.
Some of the actions went after FBI offices and U.S. attorneys offices. Activists never yet apprehended stole COINTELPRO documents and sent them to the media, exposing the FBI’s abuses and creating a major news story that lasted until it was overshadowed by the Pentagon Papers — released by Dan Ellsberg, himself inspired by the activism shown in Hit and Stay. The people shown engaging in these actions are, in many cases, still active today — although they look a bit older. In other cases, their sons and daughters are still involved.
The name “Hit and Stay” comes from the method of engaging in civil disobedience (or civil resistance for those who prefer to point to laws being upheld through the violation of other laws deemed less important) and then staying at the scene of the crime to take responsibility. This was a communications strategy, not a masochistic drive toward suffering. Some of the Catonsville Nine went into hiding to avoid their trial and remain active, even after having stood still long enough to be arrested and charged.
The film shows us the Milwaukee 14, the DC 9 who went after the Dow Chemical Company, and the New York 8. The New York activists hit more than one location and chose not to stay. Instead, they held a press conference to claim responsibility without identifying who was at which location or agreeing to answer questions. They were not prosecuted.
We see the Boston 2, the Rhode Island Political Offensive For Freedom (RIPOFF) — modeled after the New York 8. We see the Rochester Flower City Conspiracy, the Buffalo, the Camden 28. That last one was encouraged, assisted, and then busted by an informant, but in the trial the judge allowed defense witnesses including people like Howard Zinn. The jury nullified the law by acquitting defendants who openly admitted to their actions. The jury joined in singing “Amazing Grace,” and the foreman threw a party for the defendants.
Activists have not entirely figured out how to counter the brilliant move of creating a “volunteer” poverty draft, but neither has it shut down resistance in quite the way as is generally imagined. The stories of these long-ago actions and so many thousands of actions since still inspire. And resistance is in many ways greater now. Wars are protested before they even start, and sometimes prevented from starting. There is much to inspire us in independent media reports of nonviolent actions today, but I suspect this movie has the power to inspire us further.
David Swanson is the author of “When the World Outlawed War,” “War Is A Lie” and “Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union.” He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org
Former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds elaborates on the Turkish branch of NATO/CIA’s “stay behind armies” code named Gladio. This little known history should be lesson number one on how the world actually works. Operation Gladio in Europe was exposed by the Prime Minister of Italy for blowing up civilians, murdering them, in order to blame on communist cells, those “Red Factions.”
Sibel contends that the European operations of Gladio were shut down after Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti ‘s public exposure in October of 1990, but that Gladio in Turkey continued. It continues to this day in Turkey and is aimed outward at the surrounding nations. Note Syria, which was invaded by foreign Islamists hosted right on Turkey’s territory. This relates to the wars in Kosovo, Bosnia and Chechnya too. Anyone familiar with the latest Boston bombing case knows the name Chechnya.
BBC: Operation Gladio, 1992
Turkey’s Killing Machine: The Contra-Guerrilla Force
By Serdar Celik
The Strategy of Tension
by Nafeez Ahmed
NATO’s Secret Armies
Operation GLADIO and Terrorism in Western Europe
By Ganser Daniele
Published December 22nd 2004 by Routledge – 336 pages