Days of Heaven

Days of Heaven ★★★★½

Five years after his successful feature debut Badlands, Terrence Malick takes his camera to the Texas panhandle for another tale of crime, murder, and passionate romance. This time, Richard Gere plays a runaway murderer who absconds with his girlfriend and sister in search of a better life. Malick once again captures the beautiful farm landscape and sets it as a backdrop to a spellbinding tale that is not without its minor issues.

For one, I felt that the narration could have been handled differently. Whereas Badlands kept the audience in a first-person narration that left us in the seat of the action, Days of Heaven literally takes a third person perspective, putting us a little further away from the focal characters. While this does create a better sense of uncertainty in the direction the plot was going, I couldn't help but feel just a little bit disconnected from the two characters the film is supposed to make me care about. They are sympathetic, no doubt, but there's just some slight personality that's lost with the third degree narration thrown into the mix.

Despite this, Terrence Malick still does a marvelous job at combining a potentially masterful tale with his innate love for nature. The Academy Award that the film garnered for its astounding cinematography was more than deserving, as it is no doubt one of Malick's best shot films. Richard Gere and Sam Shepard give two of their best performances in this beautiful tale of corruption, murder, and one man's slippery fall into self-destruction.

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