how old you'll be when the movie's finally over
I couldn't finish it; I couldn't get through even an hour.The movie is manifestly, immediately, deeply and groundlessly in love with itself; like almost everyone else with an interest in both film and bitchy behind-the-scenes gossip, I've read Final Cut, the book about the making of the movie and about the movie's unmaking of the studio, so I shouldn't have expected much better, but Cimino's disregard for the audience is almost unbelievable.
And for his actors as well.John Hurt, who should have expected better, is forced to carry the interminable opening sequence with a monologue that, we are meant to understand, is hilaaaaaarious and meaningful to other characters in the scene, but is actually too opaque to mean anything to anyone else (a casualty of coke-fueled insistence on historical accuracy, I suspect); the delivery is peppered with saucy gazes and winks at the ladies in the gallery, none of whom is attractive by either 1870s standards or today's, and Hurt's hair is dyed an unfortunately Crisp-ish red, presumably to make him look 22, which fails, as does any implication that the character is not as gay as a Caribbean sunset.Understand: I love John Hurt and I loved him as Quentin Crisp.What I do not love is direction that means to have Hurt glaring reproachfully at Sam Waterston, then fails to yank Hurt back from the precipice of slash.
And then the dancing sequence…the movie in a nutshell, really.It is an attractive shot, it clearly took hours to set up and choreograph, and the effect is quite stunning — for ten seconds.The scene goes on for at least five minutes, and does absolutely nothing to move the narrative forward.Its only purpose is to solicit our admiration, but viewers who have seen movies before do not require nearly that long to process its difficulty, and viewers who have seen Busby Berkeley movies before will wonder why Cimino didn't vary the camera angles in a manner that efficiently communicated said difficulty, instead of framing two couples so tightly as to induce nausea.Whence proceedeth this new, but not fresh, idea — the lava lamp in his trailer?Because it's about as relevant and well-"plotted."
Steven Bach's book is more interesting, and shorter.Fuck, Tolstoy is shorter.The movie is as bad as they say, and not in amusing ways; I can't even recommend loading up the bong and watching it as wallpaper, because the print is muddy.Also: Richard Masur's Oirish accent, begorrah! 'Tis completely oover the top! Moight as well have put the lad in a potato costume!
Tags: an hour of my life now lost forever curmudgeoning John Hurt Kris Kristofferson Michael Cimino movies Quentin Crisp Richard Masur Sam Waterston Steven Bach