Days of Heaven

Rated: PG
Runtime: 1 Hour and 33 Minutes

Reviewer: Dale
Grade: A

When I think of "Days of Heaven" (and I will think of it) I will think of the way that the wind rustles through the wheat fields, almost as if the crops had a tide to them. I will think of the way that the light slants through the thunderclouds as they gather over the Oklahoma grainfields, creating a quality of light that is just gorgeous to behold. I will think of the way that a cloud of locusts moves over the dying embers of twilight like a horrible cloud.

I will think of the imagery, because that is the main reason for watching this movie. The plot is really nothing special (at all). The dialogue is there only to advance the plot. And I mean only.
There is not one line of dialogue that does not further the plot, because there is no other dialogue. This isn't a silent movie, but it might just as well have been. It doesn't have a lot more talking in it than your average Buster Keaton film. And some of the lines don't even try to make it sound like they are doing anything more than just getting the movie from one beautiful shot to another.

But the shots are beautiful. In fact, this is the most gorgeous movie I have ever beheld, and I have watched a lot of movies. The way that the rancher's house sits in the middle of the fields, the otherwise unbroken fields, like a castle sitting in a sea of grain. The way that Richard Gere moves through a thicket to elude the authorities. The sight of wagons of people moving through an arch that is just sitting there on the prairie, as timeless and iconic as the Sphinx sitting in the midst of the desert.

These images will be in my mind forever, I am sure of it.

Reviewer: Jones
Grade: A+

Terrence Malick's second foray into the world of film is one of the most highly regarded films of all time. Wondering what all the fuss was about, I decided to check it out.

This film deserves every ounce of praise it gets. It is the sort of film that, plain and simple, they don't make anymore. Whatever happened to films that had, on the surface, a fairly simple story, while retaining a raging torrent of activity beneath said surface?
Maybe "Days of Heaven" put an end to those films. Maybe every other filmmaker knew that they could never create a film of such exquisite beauty and purpose. Knowing this they chose not to even try anymore.

Bill (Richard Gere) and Abby (Brooke Adams) have fled from Chicago for the tranquility of Texas. They find work at the farm of a lonely, but rich farmer played by Sam Shepard. Bill and Abby pretend to be brother and sister, but their act is so thin, that some of their coworkers question the validity of this relationship. During this period, the farmer has grown quite fond of Abby and chooses to pursue her. Eventually Bill overhears of the farmer having only a year to live and tells Abby that she should marry the farmer, as it would be to their benefit once he passes away.

The ceremony takes place, but it doesn't take long for the farmer to become suspicious of the nature of Bill and Abby's relationship. Jealousy runs rampant between the two men, especially as time goes by and the farmer shows no signs of ill health.

As was the case in "Badlands," Terrence Malick so masterfully creates the world of "Days of Heaven" that you genuinely care about those involved within the first ten minutes of the film.
Few films accomplish this feat within a half hour, let alone ten minutes.

All the elements one would expect of a Malick film are present. The performances are wonderful. The narrative is present, in the form of a young girl by the name of Linda (Linda Manz). The visual splendor is in full force, as the wheat fields of Texas come to life before your very eyes. Where most directors attempt to change the look and feel of nature through film, Malick exploits the natural wonder that surrounds us despite our recognition. He treats nature as an asset rather than a liability. A lesson that more directors need to learn it would seem, given the fluff we are dealt nowadays.

So I guess what I am trying to say is, if you want to see what a truly wonderful and captivating experience a film can be, check out "Days of Heaven." If not, then I guess you will never know what you're missing out on. That could be a good, or bad thing depending on your perspective I suppose.....