Days of Heaven

Days of Heaven ★★★

Unanimously hailed by cinema lovers around the world as one of the most beautiful films ever made, Days of Heaven is Terrence Malick's second feature after the fervently received Badlands and presents the director cementing his status as one of cinema's finest auteurs by experimenting with the visual outlook of the film in order to overwhelm the viewers' senses with its beauty, at which he magnificently succeeds.

The plot concerns two lovers, Bill & Abby, disguised as siblings who travel to Texas Panhandle along with Bill's little sister (who's the narrator of the film) to harvest crops for a wealthy farmer. After finding out that the farmer is dying & is in love with Abby, Bill encourages her to marry him & inherit his fortunes but when the expected death fails to arrive, jealousy & impatience paves way for an inevitable outcome waiting to happen at any moment.

Written & directed by Terrence Malick, his direction this time takes a very artistic approach as Days of Heaven isn't driven by its plot but the images it puts up on the screen. The script doesn't offer anything new in the story nor any of its characters show an interesting arc yet the pain-staking effort made in designing its visual outlook nonetheless makes it a cinema that will leave most viewers completely mesmerized by its beauty.

The camera-work is nothing short of breathtaking for each frame looks like a remarkable work of art & the manner in which it captures its landscapes using natural light only adds more warmth & richness to the whole experience. Spending more than two years in the editing room, the final print is an immaculately edited cinema that seamlessly intercuts its narrative elements with nature's beauty while Ennio Morricone's score manages to further enrich our senses with its heartwarming tracks.

Coming to the performances, there isn't anything largely impressive but everyone from Richard Gere, Brooke Adams, Sam Sheperd & Linda Manz have done a fair enough job in their given roles. Still, honestly, I don't know which side to take for this film. A part of me was absolutely bedazzled by its awe-inspiring beauty & precision craftsmanship in every single frame but the other part was also pretty bummed up & unsatisfied with what it lacks in story & characters.

On an overall scale, Days of Heaven is an expertly crafted, gorgeously photographed, evocatively captured & splendidly scored cinema that's aesthetically & artistically significant to the art of filmmaking and remains one of the most influential works of its era. The fragmented story encapsulated by jaw-dropping photography do feel like a sort of manipulation but then it's also almost impossible to not be taken in by its alluring images, turn a blind eye to its drawbacks & enjoy the visually spellbinding ride.

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