Thursday, August 16, 2012

Margaret (Extended Cut)

Anna Paquin as Lisa in Kenneth Lonergan's Margaret
**** out of ****

What a difference it is, when adding footage to an already long movie makes it flow at a pace that is so much more natural, that I didn't feel it's time. I still maintain that Kenneth Lonergan's project would have found the appropriate venue through HBO or IFC as a miniseries and not as a theatrical feature. Then again, this movie was shot in 2006, when ambitious experimental dramas still had a place in the cinemas. Today, the avant-garde seeks refuge on subscription television and the internet.  

Watching the longer version of Margaret, I am definitely seeing a superior version of the film. All the key scenes that made the original cut, seem more meaningful with extra time between them. I have trouble believing the inept editing of the theatrical cut which left behind traces of deleted subplots when condensing the film. I thought of that version as a messy and unfocused film with quality scenes -kind of like The Adventures of Sebastian Cole.

The three-hour version of this film is hypnotic at times. The sound editing is odd and experimental, especially in scenes where Lonergan allows the noisy New York environment and the conversations of others to drown out the main dialogue which reminded me quite often, of Paul Thomas Anderson films. Another thing this version does, is give you the sense of this girl's everyday life which seems like the way the story was supposed to be told.

What's funny here, is my surprise that the movie is improved by length, when the theatrical version made me think it only needed to be shorter. 

Listen to David Edelstein's review.

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