Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Heaven's Gate (1980), so disastrously did. Certainly there are signs in The Deer Hunter of Cimino's fatal self-indulgence, particularly the overextended exuberance of the wedding reception scene, which anticipates the out-of-control Harvard commencement sequence in Heaven's Gate. Neither scene adds measurably to the narrative or the themes of its respective film, but Cimino bitterly fought all efforts to trim the wedding sequence in the editing process, and later claimed, after editor Peter Zinner won an Oscar, that he had edited the film himself. Because of its sloppiness and self-indulgence, I hesitate to call The Deer Hunter a great film, but it's certainly one in touch with the darkest strain of recent American history.