Friday, March 26, 2010

#198: Days of Heaven

1978, TSPDT Rank #154

Days of Heaven is about as far away from Rear Window as you can get, but it's equally as great. It's a beautiful, amazing, and visually astounding film; the narrative is at most a secondary function here. In fact, I don't think the narrative (a simple and somewhat disjointed tale of a love triangle on a wheat farm during the Great Depression) is important at all. Malick was a visionary, and is more concerned with showing us towering yet poetic images to convey moods, and having the dialogue and actions of the characters serve only to give us some thematic base. The cinematography is as good as you've heard - some of the greatest and unbelievable work ever done with a camera. I find it to be a slightly lesser film than Badlands, but it definitely packs a punch - and you're experiencing the right thing if you are a bit confused once it's over as to why it works so well. I guess the way I see it is: it's taking a common human story and placing it in the middle of an overwhelming sense of time and place, without robbing it of its poetic qualities, that makes it such a great film. Malick was a true visionary, and after seeing his first two works, I would say he is one of America's greatest unsung cinematic geniuses.

(Rating: 9/10)

Great Blu-Ray release by Criterion, by the way.

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