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Date: 16 May 2000
“Days of Heaven” unfolds more through the composition and execution of its images than through words or action. In fact, with the dialogue being kept to a minimum, part way through the movie it struck me that this was a lot like watching a silent film. The visuals alone almost carry the story. The narration provided by the Linda character, fills in the gaps, almost like title cards. The musical score is ever present, accompanying the action like a silent movie house piano-player.
This is perhaps the most exquisitely photographed movie I have ever seen, containing one stunning visual after another. It has been said that director Malick’s concentration on the surroundings rather than the emotions of the central character’s love triangle leaves the movie somewhat cool, but I think this was deliberate and correct. I agree with Roger Ebert, who points out that the story is being told through the teenaged Linda who observes the adults from a distance. Mallick’s approach makes us aware that there is really two stories here, not only the tragic love story involving three adults, but also the effect it had on one child.
For anyone who does not lack the artistic DNA link, I would say this is a must see.
4 1/2 stars out of 5.