I may have been unable to do this for its original airdate, but FX has thankfully allowed me to fully spotlight Michael Mann’s reediting of his most recent film, Blackhat. It opened to reviews that were uncharitable even by the standards of how critics reacted to Mann’s other digital work, but has since developed and maintained a steady cult of admirers, including myself and at least one other writer for this website. Before now, most of its defenders have had to live with reports of its director’s cut’s one showing in a Mann retrospective at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (and reports of Mann laughing heartily at a major character’s death in it), but now Mann has finally allowed it to be seen by the general public. Why only on FX, god only knows, but you take what you can get.
I don’t know if this new cut will win over anybody who resisted it initially, but at the very least it sounds like it will please those who have found merits in it (and it doesn’t actively harm the film like Mann’s reedit of Miami Vice). Most notably, it swaps the order of the film’s opening setpieces so that they progress more naturally, but it also adds some more experimental touches (like audio dropouts and obvious stock footage) and does some work to flesh out the non-Chris Hemsworth characters assembled to track down a malevolent hacker, including a meatier introduction to Viola Davis’s FBI agent. As is often the case with Mann director’s cuts, there will be probably be things from the theatrical version you’ll miss (like the movie falling asleep when Chris Hemsworth is giving his backstory), but it sounds like an even more satisfying experience than the original, and an obvious must-watch for Mann fan(n)s.
Blackhat: Director’s Cut will air on Sunday at 8/7 central on FX, followed by a repeat showing at 11/10 central. It will air in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio.