I’m sure there are a great number of people out there, who would argue that Terrence Malick’s films have steadily gotten more and more pretentious and self-indulgent towards the latter half of his career. Barring Tree of Life – one film where Malick’s hypnotic film-making technique actually works perfectly – I don’t tend to disagree with this statement.
But one thing I don’t think anyone can disagree with is that his films have always looked stunning and were by far the most visually adept films for their time, whether it is now or back in the 70’s. And the early part of his career which includes; Badlands, Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line represents his strongest and most resonant work to date.
Shot by Néstor Almendros and the great Hanskell Wexler, though completed by Wexler, Days of Heaven is easily one of the best shot films of all-time. And the thing about this film that really hits with me is how well it makes use of the magic hour. The look and feel the film manages to achieve through just that is astonishing and blends wonderfully well with the film’s narrative. But hey, you don’t have to read me talking about it, see for yourself.