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Tony Scott has ruined this film with "director's cut" changes... Shame on you Tony Scott!
on September 29, 2008
This has always been one of my favorite Costner films. Usually, director's cuts of films include omitted material, that expands on and enhances the original film. Tony Scott, the director, has now brought out a director's cut that is actually more than fifteen minutes shorter than the original. He has ruined the film.
It's not just that the film has been shortened, but new material, that obviously was left on the cutting room floor originally for a reason, has been reinserted, totally throwing off the rhythm of the film and, while perhaps making it "faster", has ruined much of the character development and added nothing. It's much worse.
Main change are:
* A scene where Costner arrives in Mexico and has a conversation with Tomas Milan, Quinn's #2 man, is shortened so that the animosity between Costner and Milan later on seems less logical.
* The scene of Quinn and Costner walking toward the tented dining table outside the house, just after their first tennis match has been shortened., Two key piece of character development have been cut. First, where Costner and Quinn talk about Quinn's tennis skills as they approach the tent, and Costner tells Quinn that Quinn "never concedes a point". The second, after Costner has given Quinn a leather flight jacket. One of Quinn's dogs grabs the jacket in his teeth, and Quinn ruthlessly grabs the dog by the collar and hurls it into the swimming pool, amply displaying Quinn's capacity for brutality.
* A scene with Anthony Quinn and Stowe, just after Costner arrives in Mexico, that helps explain Quinn's relationship to his wife and her place in his scheme of things has been cut.
* In the scene where Costner and Stowe talk alone in the library during the dinner party at Quinn's house, the part of the scene where Stowe enters and finds Costner reading a book of Spanish poetry, one of her favorite books it turns out, and he recites several lines in Spanish, and relates a story of his time serving in the Air Force while stationed in Spain, has been cut. This deprives the characters of one of the most important early empathetic links, that they are intellectually and culturally more attuned to each other than to the others around them. This also cuts Costner's line "Did I just blow your mind?", after he reads a passage aloud in Spanish and then translates it into English. This makes Stowe's use of this same line later in the scene, when she tells of how she came to be married, and Costner's line "it's not polite to mimic people..." rather odd and out of nowhere.
* The scene where Quinn and Stowe talk by the pool after the party, as Quinn emerges from a late night swim and dons a robe, has been cut. In this scene Stowe asks what happened to Diaz, one of the men at the party, who Quinn had executed right in the house just moments before. He lies about the man's whereabouts. This is an important character defining scene for Quinn and shows Stowe's disquiet at her husband's unspoken but suspected activities.
* In the scene at Costner's beach bungalow, the day after the party, Stowe suddenly appears, holding a book. The sequence where she gives it to Costner has been cut, as the preceding scene in the library with the book has been cut also. Nevertheless, on the next cut Costner is holding the book, with no explanation of how it passed between them or what it's import is.
* In the scene where Costner and Stowe walk on the beach, the sequence where Costner tells Stowe about his failed marriage has had an alternate take substituted, with much vaguer dialog and poorer acting. Once again, this deprives the characters of the prior material that had showed their empathetic feel for each other.
* In the scene at the beach where Costner shows Stowe the trick his dog can do, and Stowe dares him to let her try it, the scene of the actual trick has been substituted with an alternative angle and take that is far less effective and satisfying than the original.
* In the same beach walk scene, a further sequence of Costner and Stowe talking as they walk along, that gave Stowe's character nuance, empathy and dignity, has been cut, and previously cut footage of Stowe standing before Costner on the beech in a totally phony rain shower has been reinserted. This ruins what had been a charming classic bit of Costner business, and deletes a very sexy bit of chat between Costner and Stowe. Tony Scott seems intent on purging any hint of intellectual or cultural empathy between the characters, and seems determined to reduce them to comic book characters or. worse, just images of desire and attraction in a perfume or beer commercial.
* The scene of Costner trying to make lemonade in the kitchen of his beach bungalow while Stowe watches, that originally appeared before they went for their walk on the beach, has been shortened, cutting intimacy between the two, and now appears before they go for their walk on the beach. This scene was the payoff of the beach sequence, that showed the growing sexual awareness and tension between the two.
* At the political victory party, Costner appears in his jacket, Then he is suddenly standing at the buffet table without it. The short bit where a maid asks him if she can take his coat has been cut, which then makes it somewhat less obvious why Costner has gone to the room where guests coats are being kept, where he meets Stowe for their first love making.
* The scene where Costner and Stowe talk while standing by the swimming pool at the party has been cut. In this scene Costner comments on the between the lines nature of their relationship, telling her he didn't come down to Mexico to get into trouble, and looks up to notice Tomas Milan observing them from a balcony. Without this scene the later scenes where Quinn implies he knows there is something going on between Costner and Stowe seem more abrupt and from out of nowhere.
* New music has been added to the sex in the coat room sequence that is both annoying and distracting. The scene has been lengthened and made more explicit. The prior music, what might have been considered a "love theme", that was synergistic with both the party music outside and the theme music of the film, has been cut. The sex scene is now more explicit, brutal, senseless, and less interesting.
* The scene of Stowe attempting to talk to Costner while she sits in his jeep outside Quinn's house, after a tennis game, has been cut. Once again, this is a direct attack on any material that would waste time on showing the adult level empathy and chemistry between the characters, anything that would reveal why they are, as human beings, so hot for each other.
* The original scene of Costner and Stowe after love making in a hotel room has been cut and replaced with a shorter alternate angle and take of them in bed that explains less about their characters but clumsily foreshadows plot developments.
* The scene of Coster and Stowe in the justly well known make out sequence while Coster is driving his Jeep has had the music replaced with a more contemporary track that totally changes the rhythm and feel of the scene.
* The scene of Costner and Stowe swimming nude has been lengthened with previously cut footage of them hanging out and carousing, and Stowe doing a sexy dance, getting all over Costner in what appears to oral sex, and Costner drinking a beer. It totally ruins the feel of the sequence, and makes Stowe's character look cheap and vulgar, where before she had seem almost regal.
* For reasons that are incomprehensible, the love making scene between Costner and Stowe at Costner's mountain cabin, a pivotal scene in the film that is prelude to the savage beating they both are about to take from Quinn, has been radically shortened, completely cutting a sequence where they talk in bed about ther lives and Costner tells about his war experiences.
* The sequence where Costner convalesces with a Mexican peasant family while recovering from the beating he received from Quinn's men now includes a completely gratuitous and pointless scene of Costner helping the farmer get his old truck running.
* Sally Kirkland's part has been cut down.
* The scene at the end at the convent where Costner carries Stowe in his arms outside, where she dies, has been cut down and is now far less visually interesting and compelling.
* Numerous small bits of dialog have ben cut, and a few extra bits of footage added that either obscure the character development or add nothing to the story.
In short: one of the very best Costner films, and one of the best Tony Scott films, has been ruined by the director himself. If some of the cut footage had been added back to the original version it might have been supportable, and added to an already great film. To not offer both the original and the new version on the same Blu-Ray disc is just ridiculous.
Shame on you Tony Scott! You have purged and cut every adult moment, every reflective passage, every poetic instinct and every empathetic gesture and utterance from the characters, all in the name of speeding up the film and getting a few more seconds in of Madeleine Stowe in sex scenes. You have needlessly used cutting room trims that were clearly left, perhaps under the adult supervision of Ray Stark, on the cutting room floor for good reason.
Now we will never get a proper version of Revenge on Blu-Ray. Other than the obvious technical superiority of the Blu-Ray disc to the DVD version, there is no reason to buy this edition.