Friday, 18 July 2014

Michael Cimino | Heaven's Gate




A few weeks ago I noticed Oliver Stone used a short but unforgettable scene from Heaven's Gate in his Untold History of the United States Documentary series. 

All my life Heaven's Gate has been a byword for movie flops even though Michael Cimino's The Deerhunter is one of my favourite movies.

I got to thinking that Heaven's Gate must have some redeeming qualities. The universal panning of the movie suggested to me that George Patton quote, 'when everyone is thinking the same thing, somebody isn't thinking'.

I accidentally chose to download an 8 Gigabyte Blu-Ray version so it took weeks to complete.

It was certainly worth the wait though. 

The original movie was cut down and shown in sepia to salvage losses, but this newly restored Criterion version is the full 3 hour 40 minute move in all it's glorious colour. 

I can assure you that many of the outside scenes are some of the most extraordinary and breathtaking scenes of America I've ever seen.

There's a lovely review of the 2013 directors cut over here so you can pick up on the synchronicity of the 1% crushing the 99% or even the immigration outrage currently in vogue with those who consume mass media.

The writing isn't always perfect in this film, there are a few things that don't make sense, but all in all this is the best Western movie I've ever seen. 

The attention to detail and film photography is simply not possible in the spreadsheet risk analysis of movie making today. 

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.