Days of Heaven - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Days of Heaven Reviews

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½ August 12, 2017
Before his 20-year sabbatical absence, Terrence Malick won the best director award at Cannes in 1979 for romancing the screens with a sensory cinematic pleasure of the most overwhelmingly heroic images of pastoral idyll by Oscar-winner NÚstor Almendros and melancholic music by Ennio Morricone.
½ July 6, 2017
I've always liked how Malick films have an otherworldly feeling to them. "The Tree of Life" is still my favorite Malick film, but this was still impressive. It had a unique and swiftly feeling to it which had a great impact on me. Since I was impressed by it, I'm going to probably check out "Badlands" as well since it also looks interesting.

After a steelworker named Bill accidentally kills his boss in a fight, he, his wife, Abby, and his daughter, Linda flee to the Texas panhandle where they join a farm and pose as brother and sister to avoid gossip. However, after the farmer falls in love with Abby, that action begins to brew jealousy and trouble.

The editing had a lasting impact on me. Most of the scenes of dialogue are short as they only consist of a few lines between the characters before the movie changes to another scene. Those short scenes of dialogue make the movie feel like it's always in motion. It's a creative way of telling its story, because it commonly feels poetic. It appears to move from one scene to another in a swift fashion that I haven't seen done the same way before. This method of storytelling was not only unique, but it did a great job at engaging me. With that being said, the film is not easily absorbed in one viewing as it's easy to miss certain character motivations if you don't pay full attention to what goes on in the film. The editing in this movie reminded me of the discontinuity editing is Godard's "Breathless". Both films evoked similar feelings in terms of their editing.

All the Malick films I've seen have delivered on their cinematography. This film was no exception. The outdoor shots were breathtaking largely because most of the film was shot during golden hour (the period during sunrise and sunset). The slight redness of the skies not only made the film feel atmospheric, but it also immersed me into the backbreaking work which had to be done around the farm. Despite just looking nice, I also felt like the cinematography showed how insignificant the characters were. I first noticed this when the film would show several people working while the house would be far off in the distance. On top of those shots, there were also many shots of the horizon, wheat stems blowing in the breeze, and close-ups of different insects. I couldn't help, but think that the characters were parts of a larger whole. The contrast between the camera focusing on immense scenes of nature and mixing in character drama by showing short clips near the middle or ends of conversations showed that the protagonists were tiny specks in the vast agricultural setting the film took place in.

On top of that, there are also several great visual set pieces. The most famous of which is the locust swarm. Its arrival is menacing as first, we hear eerie sounds and music followed by a few locusts in a kitchen followed by thousands of locusts in the wheat fields. Like many other critics have pointed out in the past, this scene signals the beginning of the end. Another great scene which I don't feel is brought up enough is when Bill takes Abby out of the bedroom while she's sleeping with the farmer. This is a vital scene as it's the first to reveal Bill's hatred of the farmer's relationship with his wife. What I like about that scene is after the 2 leave, we see a shot of a gazebo the characters stayed in earlier. Only this time, however, the color pallet of that shot is dull and gray, almost like the movie is warning us that the film will only go downhill from there.

Some people complained that the story was too slight. However, I disagree. It may seem like a simple story on the surface. However, there are a few layers of subtlety to the film which make it stick out. I mainly liked the subtle delivery of the character motivations, because, in my opinion, that's the best way a film can utilize subtlety. An important scene in terms of the motivations is how Bill persuading Abby to marry the farmer is lightly touched on. It can be easy to miss the dialogue which reveals that if you're not paying full attention (I missed it on my first viewing). However, once you pick up on that scene, you start to notice several preceding subtle scenes which lead up to it. Once you pick up on that, it becomes impossible to look away from the film. Another subtle scene was how one of Linda's friends leaves the farm only to come back later in the film. Her reappearance is sudden, but necessary. Because of this, I'd say that the story aspect is also well-done. Anyways, what I have to say to the people who criticized the movie for this reason is to try watching it again with what I said in mind, because if you do, you may appreciate the movie more.

In conclusion, I thought this film was superb. On top of the great cinematography, visual set pieces, and subtlety, Malick's decision to make most of the scenes of dialogue short helped to make this film feel poetic and mysterious at times. The funny thing is that I was putting off seeing Malick's older work for quite some time. I honestly don't know why I waited so long. Maybe I didn't think he would top "The Tree of Life" or something. I don't know. However, I'm going to check out "Badlands" soon as this film blew me away.
½ June 19, 2017
Terrence Malick's last movie before a 20 year gap is his first formula-driven picture, which usually ditches straight narrative for visual poetry. Malick is one of my biggest inspirations, but seriously I would opt for Badlands or The Tree of Life any day. It's a solid movie, sure, but the acting is just wooden. It's more like watching a brilliantly organized patchwork of poems and paintings than your standard, thought-provoking, emotional, and affecting film.
½ June 17, 2017
Days of Heaven is an hour and a half long, but it feels much longer due to the plodding it does for much of the runtime. This aside, I really did enjoy the plot, and I found the film picked up enough to not feel completely bogged down. There is some really special shots that are iconic in this film, Malick knows how to shoot a film for sure. My biggest problem with the film is that the daughter character served absolutely no purpose to the film, and her presence was simply confusing to me. Combine this with the slower pacing, and the fact that the film isn't really my type in the first place, I'm surprised I liked it this much, and there is definitely some level of greatness this film achieves. For myself personally though, I probably won't watch it by myself again
June 15, 2017
Breathtaking. Watching it makes me feel alive.
May 28, 2017
I've never been so terrified of locusts in my life until watching this movie. The way Terrence shot the insects and the whole scene was so National Geographic. This movie is such a feast for the eyes. You can tell Terrence Malick was getting all kinds of inspiration from Barry Lyndon. I can see it in his shots.

While the movie was amazing, and I will definitely be watching it again, it felt too short of a movie. It felt like Terrence took a movie that was supposed to be 3 hours long, and condensed it to half of that.

Nonetheless, this movie was beautiful in every sense of the word.
May 18, 2017
5/5 cinematography. Story a bit minimalist for the large themes.
½ April 30, 2017
One of the most beautiful films I've ever seen. While the ending scene doesn't seem to be the most proper way to end it, everything else is near flawless. Terrence Malick has made a masterpiece in the relation to nature and human much like a lot of his work.
April 25, 2017
"Days of Heaven" is a powerful and emotional portrait of early 20th century working class.
March 12, 2017
This movie wants me to see more classics. Wow.
½ March 3, 2017
beautifully shot film plays like a textbook for cinematographers and film students, picture has faded in some prints though, additionally the pictures core drama of romantic betrayal focuses on a flawlessly attractive male protagonist, supposedly also an unskilled, hard living farm laborer with a violent streak, practically homeless etc. Philosophy academic and director Terrence Malick adds depth, drama and a sense of national history to the film.
½ December 19, 2016
Gorgeous, captivating, and Linda Manz is a real treat.

Second watching 19/12/16: Agree with the above.
½ October 25, 2016
Days Of Heaven, a.k.a., Wheat Fields: The Movie, is an absolutely gorgeous film, with stunning lighting, gigantic skies and countless scenes of authentically dressed extras milling about in the Texas countryside. Terrence Malick movies get plenty of praise for their visuals, but also receive a near-equal amount of exasperation for their unfocused narrations and air of pretention. This is very evident here, as a film that's only an hour and a half is made to feel twice that length with so much scenery, so much dull dialogue, and so much focus on large groups of people doing nothing of interest. As with his debut feature Badlands, we aren't allowed to learn about what the characters are feelings or what they want by hearing them interact with each other, but instead we get everything through an omniscient and increasingly irritating narration, which always feels to me like a cheap emotional shortcut. Aside from the visuals, there's nothing in Days Of Heaven that is worth the hype it constantly receives.
October 5, 2016
Beautifully photographed
September 27, 2016
tries to be artsy. fails. would have been better without dialogue.
½ July 5, 2016
Outstanding. My second favourite Malick film next to Badlands. I'm not sure anyone has ever been better at photographing fire. The only other of his films I have seen thus far is 'To the Wonder', but it's films like this that make me such a lover of cinema. I'm not a Richard Gere fan in the slightest (though I have always loved Brooke Adams), but it's roles like this that cement his reputation as a cinematic icon in my books. I didn't say 'actor' because I'm not really sure that's his strength--it's more a presence, such as Alain Delon in 'Le Samourai'.
May 17, 2016
One of the most visually stunning films I've ever seen. I didn't expect Malick to have topped his prior "Badlands" with this film, but "Days of Heaven" is so brilliant and memorable that it almost makes Badlands look like a minor piece.
April 22, 2016
Days of Heaven (1978) ????
Hard to put into words this movie's visual beauty. NÚstor Almendros won richly deserved Oscar for his almost overwhelmingly beautiful photography in eloquent story of two farm laborers, a man and his lover, whom he convinces her to marry their rich but dying boss so that they can have a claim to his fortune. Breathtaking to say the least, with many layered meanings and images, nothing short from a master visionary, Terrance Malick, in his finest film to date. Extraordinarily good on every level.
April 14, 2016
A feast for the eyes and ears.
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