Over at his blog, Andrew Sullivan notes that a new movie by Terence Malick is on the way. Once upon a time I would have been thrilled to read this. Malick made two films–Days of Heaven and Badlands—that are amongst the finest that I have ever seen. His more recent efforts have, however, been bedeviled by ever increasing amounts of the reheated transcendentalist sludge that was to make stretches of 2011’s The Tree of Life very slow going indeed. 

Under the circumstances, it was depressing to read this in Peter Bradshaw’s preview of Malick’s new film (which boasts the somewhat ominous title of To the Wonder):

Just two years after The Tree of Life – hardly more than an eye-blink in terms of his usual production-rate – Terrence Malick has returned with something which could be seen as a B-side or companion piece to that film. It is a bold and often beautiful movie, unfashionably and unironically concerned with love and God, and what will happen to us in the absence of either.

Oh dear.

On the other hand there’s this:

To the Wonder does not quite have the mad and magnificent ambition of The Tree of Life

Good, good

I shall go, hoping for the best…

There are 11 comments.

  1. Inactive

    Thin Red Line was good too. The New World was much too much romanticism of Nature, and Native peoples, for its own good.

    My favourite movie critic BBC ‘s Mark Kermode, states the Birth of Creation scenes, and the start of morality with a dinosaur not eating another injured dinosaur was overwrought, and very flawed.

    Let us see what Terry has got for us, but he is running out of chances to redeem himself.

    • #1
    • January 2, 2013 at 5:43 am
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  2. Thatcher

    Another of Terrence Malick’s films, The Thin Red Line, is best described as Apocalypse Now meets the Discovery Channel.

    • #2
    • January 2, 2013 at 6:38 am
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  3. Member

    I found myself fast-forwarding through the long cosmic stretches in Tree of Life, and then it seemed what actually happened with the kid, and Sean Penn’s character was never explained.

    • #3
    • January 2, 2013 at 6:49 am
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  4. Inactive
    Mike LaRoche: Another of Terrence Malick’s films, The Thin Red Line, is best described as Apocalypse Now meets the Discovery Channel. · 10 minutes ago


    • #4
    • January 2, 2013 at 6:49 am
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  5. Inactive

    The most disturbing part of this post is the fact that you still go to Sullivan’s website. I would sooner sit through “The Tree of Life” thirty times.

    • #5
    • January 2, 2013 at 8:35 am
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  6. Contributor

    I loved Tree of Life.

    • #6
    • January 2, 2013 at 9:22 am
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  7. Member

    There’s something about Tree of Life that is compelling. I think it’s that Malick decides to show a series of quick vignettes instead of a logical narrative, sort of like browsing through old shoeboxes of family snapshots. The ending seemed almost too easy – almost like a cast party strolling about the beach. It’s obviously a very experimental film, a departure from standard narrative filmmaking and as innovative in its own way as how Welles experimented with the medium in Citizen Kane.

    I actually thought the “cosmology and life on Earth sequence” was the best part of the film (too much Sean Penn looking soulful for my taste). I was especially awestruck when the camera in that 15 to 20 minute sequence pans right and the viewer is confronted with a plesiosaur on the beach that cranes its long neck around to inspect the chunks of flesh that presumably the sharks in the following clip have torn from its body. It was done in such a matter of fact way that it looks almost like an actual prehistoric beast was filmed in a documentary.

    • #7
    • January 2, 2013 at 10:42 am
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  8. Member

    Still think that Days of Heaven is his best to date – great music, great cinematography, wonderful narration…if only Richard Gere had gotten his haircut to look more authentic for the period. Every time I watch that film, his blown-dry, perfectly coiffed 1978 hair just annoys the heck out of me.

    • #8
    • January 2, 2013 at 10:47 am
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  9. Inactive

    Not having seen it before, I went to get Badlands on the strength of Andrew Stuttaford’s recommendation.

    Now I’ve watched it, I can record that it’s a strong candidate for the Worst Film I Ever Saw. Poor man’s James Dean goes around shooting people while brainless teenage girl hangs around. Total tedium.

    • #9
    • January 3, 2013 at 1:09 am
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  10. Inactive

    Despite its inaccurate portrayal of John Smith as a romantic doofus, I really enjoyed The New World. Haven’t seen Tree of Life yet, and I recall liking Thin Red Line. 

    • #10
    • January 3, 2013 at 10:18 am
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  11. Member

    I worshipped Days of Heaven and Badlands, and even care a great deal for the Thin Red Line. However I thought the New World was just dull and the Tree of life just didn’t work for me either. I think he exercised enough restraint in the Thin Red Line that the plot, though still relatively threadbare, was still intact. These later films are just too muddled, though they’re beautiful to look at. Of course, I anticipate I’ll be seeing To the Wonder (as well as his two subsequent films) on opening weekend.

    • #11
    • January 3, 2013 at 12:38 pm
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