Quick recap: Bill, a laborer, convinces his not-girlfriend to marry their hopefully-dying-soon rich boss. When he doesn’t kick the bucket as promised, it gets awkward quickly.
Fun (?) fact: The locusts were really peanut shells (thank god). The film was then reversed to make it seem like they were ascending into the sky. I’m still traumatized.
My thoughts: Terrence Malick, during a discussion of an upcoming film: ‘You know what would really knock this film out of the park? poetry!’
Days of Heaven looks similar to other Malick films in that the words and symbolism can be confusing but the scenes are gorgeous so I don’t mind. In a Malick film, don’t ever take anything at face value. Not war, not criminals on the lam, and now, not migrant workers looking for some quick cash. Days of Heaven was a bit easier to digest than the other two I mention, I think because there was a lot of religious symbolism I recognized. The film doesn’t have much dialogue between characters, which my 1001 movie book deemed ‘silent movie-esque’. I tend to agree with that statement, although there is plenty of narration to explain the plot. Despite getting the theme of the movie rather quickly, I still had some lingering questions after it was over:
- Why couldn’t Bill and Abby pretend like they were married instead of brother and sister? Watching them make out would’ve made everyone much less uncomfortable
- How expensive was soap in the early 1900s? Because it seemed like no one bothered to use it and if that’s true, how could you attract anyone?
- Were locusts that big of a deal back then? What a nightmare.
Overall, though, I was entirely invested in the characters from the beginning. Bill was kind of a jerk but also really young and in charge of his sister. Then again, it was his idea to marry off the love of his life so I don’t really think he thought things through. I loved the tense showdown at the end between Bill and the The Farmer, even though I never could reconcile who should’ve ‘won’. Honestly, even if this movie had no build up or resolution, I still would’ve loved it because it is beautiful.
Final review: 5/5
Up next: Blue