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Quick-Thoughts: Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven (1978)

Terrence Malick Presents: Swingers.

I swear, if eye orgasms were a thing, Terrence Malick would be the #1 person who could permit it. Sunsets don’t even look this galvanizing in real life! I had the biggest smile on my face while watching a majority of this passionate love/hate letter to our spirited but often arrogant humanity, in consideration of how forbidding the circumstances in this movie’s premise is regarding our two main lovers who use a rich man’s devotion towards them as a means of possible profit. 

Sometimes narration can work adequately in your project and sometimes it can be spotted as a weakness. For Malick it has yet to backfire, as seeing this taboo situation interpreted by a very young girl gives viewers an insight into an innocent perception of the affair, making Days of Heaven spotlight as almost an endearing presentation that wants to wrap itself around a tricky situation—a method that’s much in the same realm as Malick’s previous project Badlands. Binding innocence to a not so innocent venture, plus Néstor Almendro’s CINEMATOGRAPHY and Ennio (R.I.P) Morricone’s SCORE, make Days of Heaven another distinct Malick project I simply can’t not gloat over.

Nature seems to follow us in our destruction. As we choose to keep on accepting our evil, that’s when we’ve chosen our fate by nature’s verdict. Like they say, in our expeditions for greed, “There Will Be Blood”—a masterpiece that, by the way, was clearly inspired by Malick’s feature-length here. I will never be able to wipe this movie’s image of men burning locusts alive out of my head and all that rapacious fire accumulating as they finally decide to welcome their savagery. Vain truly does break us apart, even the ones closest. Days of Heaven, you’ve made my day under both somber and gleeful conditions.

But, gosh, did I feel detrimentally bad for Sam Shepard’s character. “I always thought being alone was just something that a man had to put up with. It was like I just got used to it.” Ouch. 

Verdict: A

More of a Feeling Than a Story (Ranked List)

“Days of Heaven” is now available to stream on Showtime, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube, and Google Play.

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