Screened as part of NZIFF 2013
A mere two years after The Tree of Life, Terrence Malick returns with something utterly characteristic yet much looser and more intimate. Here his rhapsodic contemplation of nature and humanity’s fall from grace unfolds in a contemporary setting and draws explicitly on the erotic connection between man and woman. Ben Affleck and Olga Kurylenko appear as lovers whose joy in each other falters as they move, with her young daughter, from France to the plains of Oklahoma. Rachel McAdams appears as an old flame of Affleck’s while Javier Bardem proves a brooding presence as a benevolent priest doubting his faith.
“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… Malick’s visual language is much in evidence: whispered narrative, a surging orchestral score, looming, circling camerawork to accompany wordless outdoor memory sequences which often take place suffused in sunsets and lens flare…
At its best, Malick’s cinematic rhapsody is glorious; during his uncertain moments, he appears to be repeating himself. But what delight there is in this film.” — Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
“Once I surrendered to the ebb and flow of Lubezki’s images, the elegiac and almost anti-narrative mode, the sweet-sad blend of romance, eroticism and tragedy and the hypnotic score – which mixes contemporary electronic pop with Berlioz, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Henryk Górecki and Arvo Pärt – I really never wanted it to stop.” — Andrew O’Hehir, salon.com