Monday, May 28, 2012

The Queue Continuum: Days of Heaven

It had been somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 years since I last saw Terrence Malick's second film, Days of Heaven. My memory of the film was a bit faulty as I had remembered it being much longer than its relatively brief 90 minutes. My visual recollection of Days of Heaven, however, was spot on; it was stunning. Filmed on the Albertan plains serving as a surrogate for the Texas panhandle, it is positively breathtaking. Shot using almost entirely natural lighting, largely during the magic hour, it is one of the most beautiful films I've ever seen.
Sure, its having been cobbled together in the editing room is very clear at times and having to hear Linda Manz's grating voice giving the narration can be trying at times. This also happens to be the first true Richard Gere vehicle, as its filming was completed before Looking for Mr. Goodbar began production. This means not only are we subjected to one of the early attempts of Richard Gere to sell himself as something of a rebel. Unfortunately, insofar as my possible enjoyment of Days of Heaven is concerned, I am not a Gerehead. This particular form of actor-branding does not work for me. These are all minor quibbles and are small prices to pay for getting to see something as aesthetically unique and significant as Days of Heaven is.

Honestly, I can't imagine many ways to better spend 90 minutes of your times than to open your eyes to the beauty that is Days of Heaven, even if there is little understanding for why anyone would ever not immediately ditch the zero (Gere) and get with the hero (Sam Shepard).

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