Steven Soderbergh's re-edit of Heaven's Gate turns it into a good movie. The focus is placed directly on the story, and it no longer feels like the director is deliberately wasting our time.
The film runs to exactly half of its original length, including credits. Unlike the nigh-unwatchable 220-minute version, this film flies. There was a very good movie hiding here, but Cimino missed it in the editing room.
One of the stronger changes is the way Soderbergh has completely…
Heaven's Gate is pretty bad moment-to-moment. When a movie is pretty bad for an incredibly long time, it becomes unbearable.
Despite its ridiculous running time (almost four hours), most of the basic building blocks of the story are missing. A lot of the time, I had no idea what was happening or why. Instead of telling a story, Cimino wasted time on things like that ~15 minute rollerskating sequence, or watching Kristofferson endlessly frolick around with Huppert.
The film becomes…
I struggled with the premise less than I expected to. At first I had horror-flashbacks of Saorise Ronan talking to nobody in The Host, but you know, it almost works here.
The film has Zoe Kazan to thank for that. She's an old hand at the bizarre fantasy romance, having done good work previously in Ruby Sparks. This is a better film than that.
Whedon's writing is less showy than usual, and while I like his regular work, he finds…
Huh, that is not where I thought that story was going.
Spectacular performances from Turturro and Goodman anchor this wonderful, bewildering film. This was the last of the Coen brothers' films I hadn't yet seen, and I'm glad they still had some surprises in store for me.
Most of what I'd like to say about the film and its visuals would only serve to ruin the experience for others, so I'll leave it at that.