Days of Heaven

Days of Heaven ★★★½

Watched as the 'D' entry for SUPER_CANNES/Rob's Alphabet Club.

After viewing Badlands a few weeks ago, I was immensely excited to delve further into Terrence Malick's work. Now having seen his second feature film, Days of Heaven, I am beginning to understand just how special a filmmaker Malick is.

Usually the films I enjoy most have a gripping, exciting narrative. Days of Heaven is the antithesis of this. Slow burning, methodical and patient, it chugs along like an old steam tractor. While I never fully engaged with the characters or what was happening to them, this film never once felt boring, thanks to the director's prowess.

Often lauded as one of the most visually beautiful films ever made, Days of Heaven without question lived up to its reputation. The symbolism, composition, movement and lighting in the frame was rarely less than tremendous. You could take practically any still from this film and it wouldn't look out of place in an art gallery. Billy Weber's editing stitches the images together in a lovely fashion, with the ordering and juxtaposition of images always working to service the film's musings and themes.

I truly can't think of another person to film nature anywhere close to Malick's skill. Whether it's rolling wheat fields blowing in the breeze, mist hovering over the surface of a lake or a plague of locusts surging through the air, it is nothing less than ethereal to look at, and perfectly evokes the paradise suggested by the film's title.

The performances are understated, but Richard Gere definitely impressed me. I'm not quite sure when I'll get around to seeing this movie again. I've enjoyed many movies a lot more than this, but Days of Heaven is filled to the brim with passion and soul, and that is always a pleasure to witness.

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