WATCHMEN (DIRECTOR’S CUT)


2009

10/10

DIRECTOR: Zack Snyder

I first watched the theatrical cut back in 2009 and though I was impressed, I knew that it required a second viewing to be judged fairly. This didn’t happen until a couple of months ago when I was treated to the Director’s Cut, a version  extended by approximately 25 minutes.

The funny thing about this cut is that it is hard to see the joins, which is obviously very good, as a lot of special editions have scenes shoehorned in and held together with sellotape. But this was a smooth three hour epic, not so much redefining the genre but demonstrating how indeed, it can be done.

That in many ways was my problem the first time, that I was expecting  more thrills and spills often associated with the comic genre, but was given an intellectual, character drama, played and directed so very well, that it is hard to peg this in to any particular slot. This is primarily a drama, and as such, is light on action but heavy on emotion and melodrama.

The cinematography is well conceived, though the whole film plays out in a relatively and surprisingly classical manner, sometimes at odds with story and visuals which they are showcasing.

The action, though brutal and at times rightly so, is showcasing the brutality of vigilantism, and at others, leading into a splatter territory. But on repeat viewings this holds up and once you accept that it is what it is, then this is a first class film, as well as a crackingly smooth director’s cut, expanding the 153 minute version with ease, adding a few scenes to gain more context, and others snugly fitting into the original mold.

This is a fully developed adaptation of an iconic graphic novel from the 1980’s, though in that sense it is lacking some of the context of that day, but still resonates in many others. I would not have known much about this story if it had not been adapted for the screen and this is a faithful one, but I can understand the view of those who say that it is ‘too’ faithful, as this could have done well to employ a little more theatrical license, maybe sacrificing some of the accuracy in favour of the truth of the story.

In the end, this is what it is, and it is something special and I believe, potentially timeless…

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