Written and directed by Terrence Malick.
Starring Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel McAdams and Javier Bardem.
UK Release Date: 22nd February 2013.
Plot summary: After falling in love in Paris, Marina and Neil come to Oklahoma, where problems arise. Their church’s Spanish-born pastor struggles with his faith, while Neil encounters a woman from his childhood. (Sourced by IMDB.)
To be a fan of Malick’s body of work or to be able to sit through the entirety of one of his most complex films i.e. The Tree of Life really takes an acquired taste. There are two types of people when it comes to viewing a film by Malick. There are ones that get so frustrated and bored, they tend to leave halfway through the screenings of a number of his films, clearly not understanding the philosophical messages hes trying to bring across (this one being very much included) and then there are ones that are so enlightened by his storytelling and direction through stunning visual imagery, body language, emotional attachment and the very existence of what it actually means to be human. I fully embrace unashamedly that I definitely fall into the latter part. I’m absolutely fascinated with how this director works, his extraordinary camerawork is so unique, unlike anything I’ve ever seen from any other film-maker’s approach to how they prefer to shoot and film and Malick is the closest thing we have to Kubrick working in cinema today.
This is probably the most simplistic visually told love story I’ve seen thus far from Malick, as we see Neil (Affleck) and Marina (Kurylenko) meet and fall madly in love with one another while in Paris, which swiftly leads on to her moving with him to his farm in Oklahoma, which is where we see their relationship begin to crack away with problems in being unable to establish trust and facing the difficult strain of maintaining its own stability and happiness.
I may have been a bit disappointed that Rachel McAdams didn’t get enough screen time as much as I would have liked her to have considering she was also billed in the trailer as seemingly being a big player in the movie but her performance still made quite the impact it needed to upon the deterioration of the central relationship, as well as in the film overall.
A lot of people said this was one film in Malick’s filmography that was a complete mess and all over the place but I strongly disagree. This film really engulfed and washed over me, experiencing all kinds of different emotions that I never expected to experience from a film like this. There are also a lot of people out there that make the claims that both Malick and the movies he makes are quite full of itself and way too self indulgent. Like I mentioned earlier, his films and the way he makes films requires an acquired taste but if you go in with a completely open mind, there’s a good chance you will feel overwhelmed and enlightened as much as I was when seeing characters he crafts and moulds on screen who start out as lost souls but later redeem themselves with a purpose in life to embark on personal journeys of self discovery and spiritual awakening; finding out the meaning of their place in the world.
Its for those reasons why this is another masterful work of cinematic art presented as a gift to us from one of the most intelligent and extraordinary film directors of our generation.
Rating: ★★★ 1/2