Last summer I tried to watch The Thin Red Line. I didn’t get too far. All of the huge name actors showing up throughout reminded me too much of It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t what Terrence Malick was going for. (Isn’t Phil Silvers in the Thin Red Line for a minute?)
The New World, well, Colin Farrell insured that I’d stay away from that one. But I was really struck by the cinematography of the Assassination of Jesse James, which of course got compared – poorly often – to Malick, though I thought the shots there were quite beautiful.
So, heartened by its 90 minute running time, I picked up the new Criterion edition of Days of Heaven. Anyone seen this recently? It’s really an impressive piece of work. The cinematography, of course, but also Sam Shepard’s performance – just the way his face looked throughout – was wonderful. Richard Gere, alas, looked like Richard Gere. Usually movies in the 1970s had the decency to cast actors who didn’t look like freaking models from the pages of Vogue. Except for Gere. He looks like the Fonz when he’s supposed to be working in a filthy Chicago factory.
And while the scenery is beautiful, why are we supposed to believe this is the Texas Panhandle? Really? That area between Mexico and New Mexico? I’d say it looks more like the northern plains. Perhaps, even Alberta, Canada, which is where it was filmed. That little leap of faith aside though, I was mightily impressed by what I saw here. Anyone else see it recently or have thoughts on Malick’s stuff?