When high-flying but psychically unsatisfied doctor Michael Roberts (Harrelson), on the verge of a major promotion, examines Blue (Seda), a dangerous half-Navajo prisoner, his diagnosis - Blue's sarcoma means he has weeks to live - is overheard by his patient. Roberts agrees with senior staff to transfer Blue to a neighbouring hospital, but en route Blue overpowers him and a police officer, and forces Roberts to drive him to a sacred Navajo mountain site in Colorado. As the long journey progresses - with attempted escapes, fights with redneck bikers, near-death rattles, etc - a relationship painfully develops, so that WASP achiever and ghetto no-hoper slowly come to recognise their common humanity and spiritual connectedness. But with death beckoning, where to place one's faith? In the mountain's magic or your fellow man? Cimino's film takes him back to the bonding movies that started his career, but is shot with the technical overkill and dramatic over-emphasis of his post-Heaven's Gate action pictures. Doug Milsome's often superb landscape photography, the generally languid pace, the pseudo-Western themes and soundtrack may give a hint of the film's would-be epic ambition, but the kindergarten psychology of Charles Leavitt's script, the implausible dramatic development and contrived emotions render it hollow.
Cast and crew
Harry Carey Jr