I had the chance to see this film at the London Film Festival and I happy to confirm that it features beautiful photography, excellent performances from all the leads, nice period detail and that it is indeed very, very, very long indeed.
I dread to think what was in the original cut but while I can see a fantastic multi-disc DVD release for the whole thing there is a theatrical release that is 45 minutes long dying to be free from this film. We really do not need to see Nick Cave mugging for the cameras for example.
Acting from the entire cast is excellent and it reminded me of how often we are dependent on just one or two principals for our narrative. Here everyone has a role in recreating the post-Civil War era with its complex politics and its often simple personalities.
In the era of really long films this one is actually worth giving your time to. If you watched Cold Mountain for example you spent a lot longer for a lot less.