Wednesday, May 8, 2013

To The Wonder

To The Wonder
Directed by Terrence Malick

Malick has done it again: left me pondering about nothing in particular, while simultaneously taking several years off my life with this bloated, uneventful, pretentious art-house "thing".

Ben Affleck and a french woman are in love. We know this, because they spend the first 10 minutes of the movie petting each other, kissing, giggling, and other forms of frolicking. As the movie goes on, we see less and less of this frolicking, which basically leads us to believe that their relationship isn't working out so well anymore. Surprising that they even lasted that long, considering I don't think you ever actually see them have a single conversation during the entire movie. For a movie almost solely about a relationship and its troubles, it's shocking how little of this relationship we actually see. There was zero chemistry, and the performances were mediocre. Whispering listless voice-over narration and far-off gazes don't substitute for real drama and character interactions. I didn't care; I couldn't care.

On the one hand, Terrence Malick's movies are quite beautiful: majestic musical scores, sweeping visuals, intimate narration, etc. But on the other hand, he has been making this exact same movie for the past 40 years, just with a different central plot. Instead of letting the individuality of each film stand on its own, he chooses to make them all the same way. His film-making style is kind of like how a chef might make a meal if he is only given his ingredients and a food processor: Some of the flavors may change, but it's all just mush.

This is just a dull, dull movie. The acting is dull, the narrative is unfocused and aimless, and there is absolutely no emotion to be found anywhere in the story. The film's events (or lack thereof) are generic, and the entire movie is shot in typical Malick fashion. If anything, the only thing this movie did was prove that Terrence Malick still knows how to make Terrence Malick movies. Impressive.

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