During the DVD documentaries and commentaries included in this version of Payback, director Brian Helgeland states that he can now appreciate the theatrical, audience-friendly cut created from his movie. At the time he wrote and directed Payback, his commentary reveals that with the 1970's, gritty, crime-drama tableau, the unhappy ending was in keeping with the outcomes of so many of the popular films of that period. See more »
When Porter and Val run their Nova into the Chows' car, although the cars have impacted and come to a dead stop, the reaction shot of Porter and Val shows buildings still moving past the side windows. Also, Porter's head has snapped forward all the way to the steering wheel before Val even reacts to the crash. See more »
Oh, I bet you got a lot of questions rattling around in your head.
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I think this was miles ahead of the theatrical cut. People probably knock it so much because of the "bond" they have established with the theatrical version over the years.
I having never seen either version, I unbiasedly watched Payback a few days ago. I liked it, but I didn't think the last act suited the movie at all. It felt not only tacked on, but it had a different tone and took the movie in a different direction that it should have gone. Gibson's character is a very destructive person, and I just couldn't see it ending so perfectly.
When I saw this version however, I thought it was not only a much better film, and suited the tone of the film much more, but it is also a better homage to the revenge-type films from the 70's.
This film had a very consistent musical score that was very pleasant to listen to throughout. It's the music that should have been. As much as I love Jimi Hendrix and BB King, they were out of place as you never really heard music like that in 70s revenge films. I liked the look of the film as well - the bleached, high contrast look. It was perfect for the gritty nature of this version.
It was also a much darker version. Mel Gibson is much harsher toward his wife when he comes home, and as hard as that is to watch, it feels more appropriate. He is justified in doing what he does. I felt she got off too easy in the theatrical cut.
People complain that they miss Gibson's humor in this version. I don't think the book its based on was ever meant to be humorous, nor were many 70s revenge films. There was a bit of humor in the director's cut, but it all stayed serious in the end, unlike the joke of an end in the theatrical cut.
There were a lot of bits missing here and there from both versions, none of which was really missed from this edit. I noticed that scenes were missing, but it added a bit more mystery to the plot.
The most important change to this cut is in the last act. In the theatrical cut, I found the last act to be very trite, light and out of place. For a movie that began very dark, it ended on a light note that didn't suit the film at all. The final act in this edit was more in line with the great endings of 70's style films. It kept building and building and building. You didn't quite know what was going to happen. It also has a very mysterious ending. You don't quite know what is going to happen and therefore it makes you think. The theatrical version was severely dumbed down. I guess they didn't want us to think.
This is the version that should have been released theatrically. It is the version that I will revisit in the future.
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