Film notes and reviews » 2012/13 season » Days of Heaven, March 2013

Days of Heaven, March 2013

USA 1978. Director Terrence Malick

Certificate PG

This was Malick’s first film after Badlands and many believe it is his true masterpiece. It certainly qualifies as one of the most beautiful main feature length dramas ever made.

The young Richard Gere, Brook Adams and Sam Shepard are also as beautiful as they ever were and this brings a depth of empathy with their ultimately tragic story which in other hands would have been just a sordid love triangle. Instead the film has a grandeur which sweeps one along despite the typical leisurely seeming Malick style.

We pause to enjoy flora and fauna, and sunsets and sunrise, and natural sounds throughout, with music which also seems natural. Then comes the storm of locusts, the fire, the tragic killing and the inevitable final revenge by society.

Malick shows life going on and we remember the beauty of working life in rural Texas as America enters World War I.

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