Mediacinema Blog

The most underestimated American movie ever?

As much as I hate sweeping statements (like the one in the title), I truly believe that the critical evaluation of Michael Cimino’s masterpiece will go down in history as one of the most infamous blunders of American film criticism. Currently marked at 45% on Rotten Tomatoes (for what that matters), Heaven’s Gate is actually a profound and courageous portrayal of the wild west (as well as a sour deconstruction of the American Dream), in form of an epic poem (something along the lines of Antonioni-meets-Ken Loach). And Criterion’s recent blu-ray release of the restored 216-minute version approved by Cimino himself is a wonderful opportunity to reconsider the film--since both the 149-minute studio version released in 1980 and the 219-minute version available on DVD and labeled as “director’s cut” do NOT correspond to Cimino’s intentions. Update: new trailer from the restored version released in France (same as Criterion’s version).

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