Terrence Malickâ€™s follow-up to BADLANDS is an exquisitely photographed story of a group of early-20th-century itinerant workers who find themselves entangled in a deadly love triangle. Bill (Richard Gere) and Abby (Brooke Adams) are lovers who are forced to flee Chicago after Bill accidentally murders his foreman. Together, with Billâ€™s little sister, Linda (Linda Manz), they settle on the land of a wealthy farmer (Sam Shepard) and spend their days working in the wheat fields. Bill discovers that the farmer is terminally ill and convinces Abby to marry him so they can inherit his fortune. As the days progress, it becomes apparent that the farmer isnâ€™t getting any sicker, and when he discovers that Abby and Bill had initially set out to con him, their carefree existence comes to a deadly end.
Notorious for its on-set difficulties and extended postproduction, DAYS OF HEAVEN remains a beautifully composed work of art. Malick uses dialogue minimally, sometimes choosing not to fade in the sound of a scene until the actors have finished speaking. To combat this, he applies Lindaâ€™s innocent voice-over--as he did with Sissy Spacek's in BADLANDS--to add a poetic dimension. Combined with Nestor Almendrosâ€™s Oscar-winning cinematography and Ennio Morriconeâ€™s mellifluent score, DAYS OF HEAVEN is a timeless motion picture that confirms Malickâ€™s directorial prowess.