Sunday, June 27, 2010

Days of Heaven (1978)*****

Terrence Malik's mystical period romance is one of those movies one should just experience and not think about too much. Because, frankly, it's kind of dumb. Linda Manz, who plays the child narrator, is supposedly from Chicago but her accent is pure Newark. The man Richard Gere kills early in the film (Stuart Margolin) shows up later as an extra; laughing and having a swell time. I guess he got better. Also there's a snowstorm in the middle of summer.

But anyway, this is a beautiful film to look at. Even with the ick factor of all those freaking grasshoppers. The late, great cameraman Nestor Almendros is the real star of this movie, and Malik must be given great credit for simply getting out of the man's way.

This film inspired a generation of young would-be cinematographers to learn all about T-stops and focal lengths and lighting ratios. If you haven't seen the film, please do so right away. It's wonderful. It's unique. I'm giving it 5 stars. But it's still kind of dumb.


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