Film Review: To The Wonder
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Terrence Malick's new film To The Wonder is dividing audiences with its unusual narrative style - is the film a beautiful meditation on love in it's many forms or is it a self-indulgent mess? Alistair Gardiner finds out... Terrence Malick is not a filmmaker. His first two films Badlands and Days of Heaven, released in 1973 and 1978 respectively, left critics stunned and established him as potentially the most artistic cinematic voice of his generation. He then, however, disappeared and didn't make another film for twenty years. Since his return he has set out to find new ways to tell a story on the silver screen. His more recent films offer little in terms of plot or dialogue; they are just images, music and beguiling voice overs. In this respect they can be seen as cinema in its purest form, rejecting the literary or theatrical staples that became cinematic norms. Indeed, the story of To The Wonder cannot be summarised, but in a nutshell one could simply say that it is a film about love. As I said, Malick is not a filmmaker; he is a poet and philosopher whose medium happens to be cinema. His recent films have not been tied down by stories, rather they have each asked a different metaphysical question (but, like most philosophy, without necessarily giving an answer). The Thin Red Line was about the ethics of fighting in a war, The Tree of Life was about the search for God. To The Wonder attempts to define the most abstract and yet most domestically referred to of emotions: love.
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