Days of Heaven

Days of Heaven ★★★★★

A movie that is all about vibes. The cinematography is legendary (supposedly only shooting for 20 minutes on certain days to capture natural lighting) creating such vast, palatial shots. Even the plot itself, if you can really call it that, tends to live in the abstract. You’re meant to feel rather than understand the story; the quick editing cuts between characters and nature evoking much more emotion rather than actual spoken words. In the hands of almost anyone else, this is a formula for disaster...Malick, on the other hand, creates a masterpiece.

Unfortunately, this film also fueled Terry’s wild impulses going forward. More and more he relied less on a cohesive narrative or well-developed characters and instead chose to focus on the visuals to lessening degrees of success - nowhere more apparent than in his 2010s trilogy of To the Wonder, Knight of Cups, and Song to Song. And while some of that latter work is equally as breathtaking as Heaven (I’m a big fan of Tree of Life), I believe he’s taken it to such an extreme that it may have tarnished some of his legacy.

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