Pre-War Heaven? Malick’s “Days of Heaven”

Days of Heaven
Days of Heaven (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With Days of Heaven (1978), Terrence Malick wanted to tell a story mostly through artistic pictures, and without a doubt the film is superbly shot.  But the writing is a reality too, and here Malick greatly disappoints.

The “little people” of pre-World War I America are sinners too (the film makes clear).  Life, however, is ferociously demanding, and a man like Richard Gere‘s Bill might, or will, shun moral duty in fighting against it.  There is no profundity in the movie beyond this, and much of the narrative detail is feeble.  Still, it is absorbing to watch a plague of locusts, often in closeup, eat away at far-reaching crops and uniformed policemen in the early 20th century ride vigorously their horses through the woods.

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