Heaven’s Gate (1980)

"It's getting dangerous to be poor in this country".

The literally sprawling epic that made cinema history for all the wrong reasons, raping the coffers of United Artists so resoundingly it made directorial freedom look like a bad thing.

Rightly pariahed for its indulgences and cavalier discipline, Heaven’s Gate nevertheless contains a solid ninety minute western and a genuinely shocking political expose of events around the birth of the state of Wyoming within the grand 3.5 hr spread of its majestic sepia-toned wings – yes like Icarus against the sun – at magic hour of course. It went nova, subsequently collapsing into a black hole hoovering dollars at the future of US independent cinema’s expense.

Whether or not you fast forwarded parts of Cimino’s popular classic The Deer Hunter, be aware this is more of the same. Quite a bit more. The guy’s love of what we’ll assume is authentic history (or at least the appearance thereof) is second only to Ken Burns’ – as well as his love of nuance – lots and lots of nuance.

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  • david nerlich


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