Days of Heaven

Days of Heaven ★★★★★

The past is both alien and overly familiar here, rough-edged city characters pushed into a world in which they don’t belong, the cycling of seasons and crops and conflicts both innately commonplace and acutely different every time. The supposed sterilization that’s occurred in Malick’s recent films, the erasure of dirt and grit from his private, evening-light-tinged worlds, is really present from the beginning, even more so here than in Badlands, because the universe depicted is one that doesn’t allow for chance, that has seen it all before, that enfolds all processes and stories in the same repetitive rhythm. You can tear crops from the earth, kill your neighbor and burn your own fields, but in the end this destruction is a negligible negative force, a brief stain on an eternally self-cleansing canvas, upon which everything has happened before and will continue to happen again in different permutations forever. I personally find this terrifying, but for Malick it seems comforting, and the films he creates are comforting as a result, and maybe make me feel a bit less helpless about the all-encompassing nothingness of existence.

Block or Report