Mar. 7th, 2010

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This Terrence Malick film from 1978 is one of those films of Impending Doom. You know the sort: you can see the characters make small and large decisions that lead them down the path to certain disaster all without thinking that decision is the one that will destroy them. (Of course it isn't - it's the cumulative effect that gets you.) It's also remarkably beautiful with far more shots of corn than any film I've ever seen (or probably any film should have). But I will go so far as to say that those are the loveliest shots of corn fields ever made.

The story is pretty simple: in 1916 three working class people go on the run after the guy (Bill) accidentally kills his foreman in Chicago. He brings his little sister (Linda) and girlfriend (Abby) with him, but they pretend that Abby is his sister to avoid awkward questions. They end up as migrant workers on the farm of a wealthy man in the Texas Panhandle. (To my shame I thought that was the bit down the end, so kept wondering why all the corn until I looked it up. Don't blame me! I'm not from North America! I still have problems finding Idaho on a map!) The owner is dying and - I bet you could all see this coming - falls in love with Abby. Cue inevitable disaster + plague of locusts. No, really there is a plague of locusts. I thought that was a little much, especially with the fire and all the rest, but there you go. I don't direct films, so what do I know?

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August 2011

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