Days of Heaven Reviews
Days of Heaven presents a more mature vision, but an evolving perspective on reality that retains grounding through the insightful but limited perspective of a child's musings of a past that seems to have either immediately occurred or happened not too long ago.
The tone and plot of Days of Heaven is quite different in respect to Badlands. Yet there is stream of cinematic thought that connects both films.
Where Badlands was an almost detached view of reality, Days of Heaven takes the form of a cinematic poem connected to the characters by a child whose life has required her to adapt a slightly skewed version of an adult.
While it never quite soars to the level of Badlands -- it clearly soars to what Malick intended. This would be the last time Malick approached humanity from what I would term a "human emotional" perspective. Malick's style would and continues to sprout further into the realm of the experimental with aspects of "nature" and even "metaphysical" replacing the less challenging perspectives presented here and in Badlands.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. But Malick's cinematic perspective no longer blend easily with Humanity, Surrealism or Experimental Film. After this movie Malick's films have become polarizing. How an individual manages to access understanding and connection to his work has now become more radical.
From my perspective this is sad. He has never managed to capture humanity as simply as he did with his second and third movies.
It is interesting to me that Lynda Manz's character delivered one narrative line that I so seared into my then 11 year old mind that I can still recite it easily today:
"I was hopin' things would work out for her. She was a good friend of mine." ...and the meanings/powers of the line have changed over the span of my life.
However, the story never really seems to become much of anything.
The beginning is horribly rushed and the great meaning is somewhat blunted by the film's lack of involving storytelling and mostly simple plot.
This could have been so much more.
Days of Heaven is a beautifully made film, but not a beautifully written one.