• When it was originally released in the fall of 1999, Ang Lee’s Ride with the Devil was underrated by critics and thus underseen by audiences. Now this complex Civil War drama has a new lease on life, thanks to Criterion’s Blu-ray and DVD release of Lee’s director’s cut, and the critics are gladly reassessing the film. For the Los Angeles Times, Sam Adams writes that “Ride with the Devil feels as if it has found its natural shape,” and goes on to praise the Blu-ray edition, which “brings out the rich palette of Frederick Elmes’s cinematography, particularly the lush, almost electric, green of the Plains states’ foliage.” In a Slant review, Christian Blauvelt says Ride is “the most daring film Lee’s ever attempted, a rumination on identity—geographic, ethnic, racial, and otherwise—that confounds many of our knee-jerk assumptions about America’s bloodiest conflict,” and adds that it features “career-best performances by Tobey Maguire and Jeffrey Wright.”

    The Kansas City Star’s Robert W. Butler writes that Ride is a “feast for Civil War fans,” and calls Criterion’s edition “a terrific repackaging of a film that deserves far better than it has received.” And after seeing it for the first time, Cinematical’s Todd Gilchrist marvels: “It turns out this is really a terrific movie . . . Lee is a master-class director and this is perhaps his most overlooked film.”

    More from Michael Atkinson at IFC (“Classically stirring”) and Film.com’s Ammon Gilbert (“Important . . . Discover what you missed the first time around”).

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