Heaven’s Gate (1980): Minute by minute: part 9

6 Aug

Not even MIFF can fatigue or distract Simon as he dissects and vitalizes Michael Cimino’s maligned epic, Heaven’s Gate.

9 of 229

My goodness! Kristofferson’s nose twitches implying that he enjoys crocheting collars in chateaus. How does he do it? I’ll bet he owns a hut. Well, in a change of pace, something appears to be happening. John Hurt, referred to as the “class orator”, is called to the lectern. Then there’s clapping and by minute’s end he is not yet at the lectern. Perhaps John Hurt’s character will do something bold and dramatic, like move the plot forward, or even get the story started. So far we know it’s 1870 and a class is graduating. This has taken nine minutes to establish. If that ratio of two pieces of information per nine minutes was applied to a film like Star Wars: A New Hope, it would have had a running time of six years. The film series would therefore collectively run for approximately thirty-six years, or just over the average lifespan of a pre-Columbian North American. But my gut tells me that Hurt’s character will not move the plot along during his speech. It also tells me that Columbus wouldn’t enjoy westerns, but would opt for German melodrama as his film genre of choice.

heavens gate 9

To read parts 1-8 of Simon’s Heaven’s Gate review (you know you must) click here. No, sorry here.


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