to the wonder (dir. terrence malick) - review

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Terrence Malick To The Wonder

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Post on 11-Mar-2016

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SOHK.TV reviews Terrence Malick's latest film To The Wonder. Starring, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Olga Kurylenko and Javier Bardem

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  • Terrence Malick

    To The Wonder

  • is, this is Malicks furthest step in re-writing film language. But with his now familiar use of whispering narration, fluid camera work, hand-picked classical scores, as well as a comical obsession with long grass and leaves, Malick is bordering, nay, has embarked on self-parody. Whereas Days of Heaven was the story of a woman torn between two men, To The Wonder is a tale of a man torn by love between two women. When Neil (Ben Affleck) falls in love with Marina (Olga Kurylenko) whilst touring the island of Mont St. Michel, his life embarks on a

    Not one to make sequels or franchises, Terrence Malicks To The Wonder is the closest hell come to making a spin-off. A love child, of sorts, of the much-heralded The Tree of Life, Malick has returned to his typically abstract, opaque and scatter-brain form of filmmaking. Considering that The Tree of Life was concerned with life, the universe and everything, and as earth bound as To The Wonder

    Words ByJack Jones

  • journey of passion, sorrow, heart-break, torment and a questioning of faith. Allusions to Marinas troubled past soon causes a sometimes fractured and tempestuous relationship. And despite Marinas feelings of salvation with Neil, he has doubts whether he can fully love her. Soon the involvement of an old friend, Jane (Rachel McAdams), brings

    Neil a calmer and more harmonious form of love, but remains conflicted by the love he canot live with, orwithout. If there is a narrative here, To The Wonder closely resembles Drake Doremus touching indie-romance Like Crazy. The inclusion of a conflicted priest, Father Quintana (Javier Bardem), however, is the added divine nature that runs through many

  • of Malicks films. In Quintana and Neil is a pairing of solemn masculinity, both question their faith in the paths their lives are taking, the presence of God, and suffer under the burdens of their vocations. No doubt a lot of audiences will be lost in their own frustrations and anger at Malicks seeming lack of focus. And there is a discussion to be had whether To The Wonder falls

    short of the wise words of esteemed DOP Robert Richardson: Its far better to shoot a good picture than a good looking picture. But when the film - admittedly briefly finds its feet as a companion piece to The Tree of Life, suddenly there is substance. Whereas the over-arching theme of Tree was finding comfort in the belief of the afterlife and the miracle of life, Wonder is

  • alternately a more microscopic look at the suffering of a crisis of faith. If only Malick had been on more of a stringent path with this idea, To The Wonder would surely have been up there with some of his best work. Instead he has opted for an absence of narrative and performance that fails to express the films tantalising themes. A recently resurrected Ben

    Affleck stands as a limp statue speaking only a handful of lines due to an apparent act of that infamous Malick editing. No fault of his own. While McAdams and Bardem are entrancing in their brief inclusion. In all it is left to Olga Kurylenko to embody and voice the themes of conflicted love, which she does to Malicks improvised wishes. As an exercise in lyrical

  • filmmaking, however, To The Wonder is yet another glimpse of the extra-ordinary compositional skills Malick possesses. But in some way To The Wonder is more Emmanuel Lubezkis film. After working together on three films no one has captured Malicks visions as comprehensibly and movingly as Lubezki. Despite the films pretensions and delusions of grandeur, to dismiss

    this film off-handily would be a crude reaction. To The Wonder certainlybaffles at various points due to its severe lack of narrative. Yet, the end result is one of pure engagement. Where are we going? Whose visions are we following? Where do we end up with these characters? None ofthese questions have definitive answers, but the journey, nonetheless, has a chaotic magnetism.