Heaven's Gate

Discussion in 'CycleChat Cafe' started by simon l& and a half, 14 Apr 2008.

  1. simon l& and a half

    simon l& and a half New Member

    Streatham Hill
    the biggest money losing film of all time. Reviled by the New York critics, who, for reasons I'll never quite get hold of, thought it was a critical commentary on the Reagan presidency. Rescued by Philip French, who, rightly, described it for what it is - a Western in the grand tradition of 'Who shot Liberty Vallance'.

    It's a sprawling epic account of the Johnson Range Wars. When I say sprawling, I mean sprawling. The opening scene is filmed in Oxford, a good part of the speech is in Russian, and there's a whole lot of ice-skating. Circles abound - to say that is to spoil it for those who haven't seen it, but to see it and not be aware would be a greater shame.

    Westerns are often morality plays, and this is a morality play on a huge scale. There is bloodshed, pain, unsustainable grief and very little happiness. The two most telling scenes are toward the end. In one, a woman, in the moment of victory, puts a gun into her mouth and pulls the trigger. Eisenstein could not have done better. In another, unheralded, unremarked upon scene, the defeated gunmen mow down a group of prostitutes. There's no redemption, only sadness, and, truthfully, that is what so enraged the critics. It ends, as I say, badly. The cavalry arrives to protect the townsfolk from the marauding gunmen. Embarrassingly, the gunmen have already been routed, and it is they that are escorted to safety.

    Kris Kristoffersen plays himself, Isabelle Huppert is beautiful, Christopher Walken, in his first big role, is both psychopathic and vulnerable, but the prize goes to Beau Bridges, whose gentle face stares out on the misery and blinks. There are scenes that would shock any sensible person, cinematography that has, in my opinion, never been bettered, and bitterness to beat the band.
  2. spire

    spire To the point

    What is this post doing in Soapbox?
  3. Sh4rkyBloke

    Sh4rkyBloke Jaffa Cake monster

    Manchester, UK
    Dying a death until you revived it, you idiot. Why couldn't you just leave it alone, eh?? Why did you feel the need to reply to it at all???? :B)

    Oh bugger. xx(
  4. OP
    simon l& and a half

    simon l& and a half New Member

    Streatham Hill
  5. marinyork

    marinyork Resting in suspended Animation

    Never heard of it. I thought Cutthroat Island was supposed to the biggest flop of all time until recently?
  6. cisamcgu

    cisamcgu Guru

  7. Abitrary

    Abitrary New Member


    Christopher Walken has had loads of big roles. And in a lot of them he is psychopathic and vulnerable.
  8. Lardyboy

    Lardyboy New Member

    I remember seeing Heavens Gate years ago and thought that the critics got it completely wrong. As Simon has said everything I would about the film I'd only add that like most "lost" art, time always comes to the rescue.
  9. DP

    DP Chasse patate

    Jeff Bridges, not Beau Bridges?

    Roller-skating, not ice skating?

    Walken had already trousered an oscar for Deer Hunter, so arguable whether Heaven's Gate was his "first big role"?

    As you say, there are a lot of circles.
  10. got-to-get-fit

    got-to-get-fit New Member

    Yarm, Cleveland
    i thought showgirls was the worst film of all time?
  11. Danny

    Danny Legendary Member

    I actually thought it was an interesting film in parts, but far too long and costly to make. Cimino, the director, went so over budget that he managed to bankrupt United Artists

    It was also badly marred by a gratuitous and offensive rape scene that added nothing to the plot.
  12. OP
    simon l& and a half

    simon l& and a half New Member

    Streatham Hill
    the rape scene was offensive.

    Beau Bridges. That aside, this thread and the one on Vogue were really a sly dig at some of the more self-obsessed souls around here. Odd to find it moved to the sedate climes of 'Chat'. Not so odd when you consider that Soapbox has now been ring-fenced by the cavalry to protect the inept.
  13. Disgruntled Goat

    Disgruntled Goat New Member

    Saw 'Smokin Aces' last night. That was pretty bad.
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