Customer Review

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Visual Poetry, 11 Sep 2006
This review is from: Days Of Heaven [1979] [DVD] (DVD)
To hell with equivocation or beating around the bush: Terrence Malick's 1978 "Days of Heaven" is the greatest film ever made. There's nothing else on earth like "Days of Heaven." I love it not only for its much-acclaimed cinematography (Nestor Almendros and Haskell Wrexler), or the evocation of a particular time and place (I'm not even sure we know the when or where of it-- pre WW1 ?). This is a mythic film.

Sam Shepard and Richard Gere are quite convincing in portraying, with almost no dialogue, the conflicting emotions and suffering of the rivals for Brooke Adams' affections. Adams also is well cast as the beautiful girl from humble circumstances who is at once corrupted and the source of all truth. And the narration by the child is a wonderful touch that adds an ironic perspective to the tale. Leo Kottke's guitar on the soundtrack is yet another perfect touch. What keeps it real is Terence Malick's passion for natural detail, from locusts and wild turkeys to the guile and weakness in human nature. And his characters' simple, American vernacular, especially the narration of the young girl (Linda Manz), adds another rhythm to the golden-hour visual poetry. Every shot is suitable for framing. Watching the movie again recently, i was struck by the little girl's narration, its her story, told by her, and its subject is the way that hope and cheer have been beaten down in her heart.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 Dec 2011 17:52:02 GMT
Michael Open says:
I am reluctant to quibble when ALL of Terrence Malick's films are monumentally better than all but the very best of EVERY other contemporary director, but I find this the least satisfactory of his films - albeit still a masterpiece.
My problem with it is in fact in its eschewing of dialogue. It is evident to me that Malick sees it as something of a homage to FW Murnau, whose 'Our Daily Bread' was reputedly totally stunning before being cut to shreds by the studio (Fox) and released in truncated form as 'City Girl'. 'Days of Heaven' has a very similar plot motif.
Even 'The Tree of Life' which I regard as THE greatest film of the last forty years suffers slightly from Malick's dislike of dialogue. It, for me, leads to suspension of disbelief problems when characters squyare up to one another wordlessly when in reality they would say something - even something mundane!
Nontheless, 'Days of Heaven' is worth anyone's time and money, and gives you the certainty of possessing one of the most precious cultural artefacts of the latter part of the last century.
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