Another article at Hazlitt (see the earlier "Desert Hearts" post), by Toronto writer Chris Randle (The Globe and Mail, The Village Voice and others).
From the article:
As a recent Vulture article explained, Weinstein’s Miramax removed 40 minutes from 54 and then spliced in half an hour of reshoots, warping the film’s visual continuity. A tentative, searching kiss between Shane and his best friend Greg, played by Breckin Meyer, was out; the new cut bolted on a hetero romance with Neve Campbell’s soap-opera star Julie Black, originally no more than a fleeting presence. Weinstein’s 54 was a commercial failure anyway.
The director’s cut of 54 resembles a parable: The first and final shots are almost identical. Beyond that simple premise, Christopher’s film seldom devotes itself to narrative; instead we find ephemeral spectacle. Cherubs descend from the ceiling. Men painted gold sweat flecks onto each other. And with a few exceptions, the dialogue avoids conscious camp, what Sontag called “Being-as-Playing-a-Role.”