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Final Cut: The Making and Unmaking of 'Heaven's Gate' (2004)

  Directed by: Michael Epstein
Written by: Stephen Bach, Michael Epstein
Links: Final Cut: The Making and Unmaking of 'Heaven's Gate' on the IMDb, Buy the Book
Genre: Documentary

This movie gets: 5.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"The Slowpoke Western Documentary" - a review by thestudent

In a time when a $40 million movie budget was considered excessive, Heaven's Gate (1980) became a colossal disaster that single-handedly took down the United Artists movie studio.

The western film, the child of devoted director / father Michael Cimino, fresh from icing the The Deer Hunter (1978) cake with five Academy Awards, became an exercise in failure, as the obsessive Cimino blew out the budget and filming schedule with an alarmingly unchecked attention to detail.

Featuring new interviews with all cast and crew, but not Cimino himself, the documentary at times struggled to enliven a story that you are already well aware of the conclusion to. It almost becomes a catalogue of the insults and taunts that the cast and crew had to suffer through as the media-created maelstrom engulfed the production and release of the film.

The audience is treated to some of the finest film review grenades ever, in the form of reviews that feature quotes such as:

"Watching Heaven's Gate is like being given a three hour tour of your own living room."

Perhaps due to its length, and lack of content, Final Cut: The Making and Unmaking of Heaven's Gate never seems to hit the mark, doesn't build towards any climax, and left me checking my watch by the end - but hey, it is a documentary, and I could now tell you in floral detail exactly why 1980's Heaven's Gate was edited, and re-edited, and took the fabled United Artists down with it.

thestudent gives this movie 5 out of 10.
Review created on Fri 5 Aug 2005

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