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Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Mont Saint-Michel at the movies

I see that Terrence Malick's latest movie is out - To The Wonder. I predict that it will be loved by the religious press, as was The Tree of Life, and perhaps even more so as it includes Javier Bardem as a Catholic priest and contains a trip to Mont Saint-Michel. The movie has received some positive reviews, but after watching the trailer I think I'd agree more with Screen International's take on it ...

To The Wonder.

The problem is that Malick’s dream of life, with its narrative core of a weak man with a paralysing fear of emotional commitment, just isn’t that interesting or original. The pictures are pretty, the music is pretty, the existential voice-overs are pretty: but after almost two hours of wistful, message-larded prettiness, Malick’s latest visual symphonic poem has us squirming in our seats.

More booed than applauded at its Venice press premiere, the film will struggle to match the respectable arthouse and urban miniplex world tour enjoyed by The Tree of Life. One problem is that it is, essentially, more of the same – not so much Tree Of Life 2, as Tree Of Life Redux – and as the end titles reveal, Malick even reuses footage from his previous film. Another snag is that if the performances of Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain gave an edge to that fitfully engaging cosmic ramble, the same cannot be said of the name cast of To the Wonder – though it’s perhaps not Ben Affleck and Javier Bardem’s fault if they never take off. It’s feels as if Malick has told them just to wander around looking pained ....

I guess I won't be seeing it. I did really like his The New World, but even that had its problems. These later movies feel more manipulative, as if Malick is trying to preach as profound something obvious through the use of borrowed beauty. But anyway, here's the trailer ...


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