danielm’s review published on Letterboxd:
Malick is the best silence man in film. He can create this sense inside of you that mimics the openness of fields or the quietness of evening. He can tell you a story about restlessness using only blades of grass moving in the wind. There's never been another director who can really do what he does and this is the one that started it all for me.
It was the first movie I ever saw that moved me on such a fundamental level that I left it feeling somehow changed. I didn't know then and I don't know now just how I was changed, but I still know it to be true. The change (whatever it was) shifted the kind of expectations I have for what is possible in film from then on. In a lot of ways, this is still a standard I use to judge powerful films against.
He has this incredible way of turning the world itself into part of the story. The changing of tides or an early harvest or late sunset all mean something in a Malick film. I don't mean that they're part of the plot, though sometimes they are. I mean that he never lets you forget that this story you're watching is happening in a place that was there before them and will be there after they're gone. Even the heartaches are just dust on the canvas of the world in a Malick picture.
I can close my eyes anytime even now and see those fields moving against the horizon. I swear sometimes I can feel the breeze.
The term "masterpiece" was invented for films like this.