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Picks and Pans Review: Heaven's Gate

updated 06/01/1981 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/01/1981 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Less is certainly more in this 77-minutes-shorter version of last fall's film fiasco, but it still isn't enough. Most of director Michael Cimino's editing helps clarify the action, and the new ending is a vast improvement. (There is no new footage.) Nevertheless, at two hours 25 minutes, this movie is still 45 minutes too long, too pretentious by half and extravagantly self-indulgent. Cimino attempts to inflate a Wyoming range war of the 1890s into an epic, complete with sweeping panoramas, expensive set pieces, an ear-splitting sound track and a cast of thousands, including Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken and Isabelle Huppert. It won't work. Somewhere in this huge, heartless $36 million movie lurks an arresting little Western, but Cimino was clearly not ready to settle for anything small. (R)

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