Nov 9, 2008

Days of Heaven


Out of Terrence Malick’s small lexicon of films, Days of Heaven is easily his greatest achievement. The film takes in the Texas panhandle circa 1916 when America still had much of it’s natural beauty. A manual labor conman named Bill, his sister, and girlfriend leave Chicago after the man is assumed to have killed his boss. While in Texas, the three runaways end up working seasonally for a nice young Aryan farmer. Bill finds out that the farmer is about to die so he decides to whore out his girlfriend. The farmer falls in love with Bill’s lady and the three peasants start living the good life.


Days of Heaven is a film featuring a truly bizarre love triangle set at a time in America when things were thought to be more “wholesome.” But with a man of a questionable ethnic background and unwarranted peasant arrogance such as Bill, things get a little ugly. I can imagine a young Marxist idealist finding Days of Heaven to be an anti-proletarian and pro-capitalist film. But the farmer in Days of Heaven is a swell young business man and Bill is a pathetic schemer. Destructive and irrational politics aside, Days of Heaven is an aesthetically pleasing experience.

Linda Manz stars as the young sister of peasant criminal Bill, and she also narrates the film. This is an appropriate job for Manz as her character is stuck in the middle of the love triangle. Although she is the sister of the conman who organized the fake love affair with the farmer, she is merely an onlooker to the unpleasant situation. Linda narrates the film as if she has no real strong opinion on anything. Even at the end of Days of Heaven as an orphan, her attitude towards life has not changed.


The strongest point of the film is when a storm of locusts hit the farm. The locusts cover the farmers field and are soon appropriately dealt with. In the process, the farmer confronts Bill and ends up accidentally burning down his whole field with the mere swing of a lantern. The arrival of the locusts introduces the climax between the love triangle. The firestorm that erupts in the field reminds one of hell on earth and the aftermath of the fire is unfortunately appropriate. Farm owners should always be weary of wanting peasants. The beauty of nature truly conflicts with the unholy thoughts of man in Days of Heaven.


-Ty E

2 comments:

willy jerk-off said...

Oh...Linda...Oh...Linda, i just her surname had been "GIRLZ" then she would have been almost perfect.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Richard Gere is a pile of shit although his rampaging heterosexuality does go someway to redeeming him obviously.