Absolutely beautiful and impressionistic. The story is complete but feels threadbare, characterization is rather minimal. But the movie is a tour de force of mood and atmosphere and lyricism, with its own unique sense of time. It's visual poetry, like Anh Hung Tran. Linda Manz was very good, and even Richard Gere wasn't that bad (although he looks more like an underwear model than a steelworker or a farmhand). Adams' perpetual frown got annoying after a while.
The analogy I have for this film is walking through a field on a summer's evening while someone intermittently mentions a story about a family who tried to con a farmer from his money. Mentions, doesn't tell; the teller seems uninterested in the story or its characters, and tells you more about where they were and how it looked. Just mentions a story occasionally, then leaves you in silence to look at the fields; at the beauty. In the distance is a house. People working the field. And clouds...
"You know how people are. You tell them something, they start talking." The golden hues of the fields and the sky, the sunrises and sunsets- and the violent outbursts that break with this beauty - not only illustrates Malick's eye for beautiful, balanced composition and painterly technique, but also highlights overall themes (order/disorder,unity/selfpreservation). Coupled with a magnificent score and great performances from Adams, Gere and Shepard, "Days of Heaven" is in the pantheon of cinema.
While I think Malick is a talented director I can't say that I got involved in this movie, outside of a few scenes like the locusts or the beginning. It just kind of bored me. Still, it's obvious Malick is a great director so it isn't as low as it could be.
Malick's early film explores the collision of two worlds, rural and urban. The filmmaker's sympathies seem to lie clearly with the rural, with its natural beauty, its freedom to run and roam, and its ability to foster community and connection. Malick tells the story of this collision primarily with his pictures, showing us the differences rather than telling us, and allowing us to empathize with the people from these worlds, no matter where they find themselves.
I would say it's redundant to mention how stunningly and beautifully Days of Heaven is photographed, but it really can't be said enough. What is equally stunning and beautiful, though, is everything else about the film - the poetry of the narration; the wonderful score; the subtle examination of love and trust, of morality and human nature, of life and death. This is one of my favorite movies.
It's probably impossible to write anything original in a review of 'Days of Heaven' but here's my two cents. The cinematography, score, acting, imagery and symbolism are all fantastic. Occasional flaws in the editing and dialogue detract a little but it's another masterpiece from Malick
The story is interesting, but where the movie shines is in the mood it creates. The movie wanders along as if alongside the characters, rather than following them, which, along with the beautiful cinematography connects you to the characters emotionally.
The story's not the most interesting ever told, but it's the way that Malick tells it that is captivating; the decision to shoot only at twilight, the digressing, almost irrelevant voiceover. It manages to be something far more than the plot would suggest, though it's difficult to pinpoint exactly what it is.
The truly gorgeous cinematography which peers through the grass below or towers over the characters making them seem small, insignificant. The bittersweet tone showing life in its concurrent joy and pain. The wonderful narration combining a child's eye with a world weary voice. The masterful creation of mood which serves to amplify every little action, every bit of emotion. And yet ultimately the effect this film has is beyond simple words - it is something you can only feel and can't explain.
The various desires in this film are sad, being either too hopeless or too grand, and the beautiful destruction that results from all of the comprises these characters make is as chilling as it is fascinating. Despite the delicate nature of the idyllic lifestyle that the film depicts I wanted the characters to be happy, which made the culminating implosion that much more powerful. Throughout this entire experience is sown a piercing soundtrack that accentuates the film's bittersweet truths.
The cinematography is gorgeous, few films look as great as this one and the score is quite good too. But the voice-over is not very good and the story didn't really pique my interest till the locusts showed up. So for all of its technical prowess, I'm not sure if it really interested me but sometimes you need to just sit back and take in the scenery. The beautiful, beautiful scenery.