Forty years in the making, Terrence Malick’s mind-boggling Voyage of Time takes us on a breathless trip through the birth of the stars, the evolution of life on earth and sea, and its eventual obliteration.
The natural world has always possessed an inner life in Malick’s films: the landscapes of Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line or The New World may linger longer in our memories than the characters who inhabit them. Now Voyage of Time exalts the universe on a scale where humanity barely figures at all. Seamlessly combining spectacular footage of natural phenomena with CGI, blending the micro with the macro, Voyage of Time may be richly informed by natural history but explains nothing of the immensity it dares to depict. Rather, from time to time, Cate Blanchett voices fundamental human questions of wonder and dread to an unknowable force of creation and destruction she calls ‘Mother’. Malick has produced Voyage of Time in several manifestations. Life’s Journey, presented here in 4K DCP, is the theatrical version, more intensely personal in its intent than the shorter, comparatively child-friendly IMAX version.
“Malick is often accused of New Age mysticism, but his strikes me as a ruthlessly scientific vision, an evolutionary view of beauty and pain that concludes logically here with the collapse of the sun itself. And yet the tone is exalted rather than bleak, because for Malick the search, the need for questioning and discovery is itself a source of transcendence. Voyage of Time does occasionally suffer from diffuse prettiness… Mostly, however, it’s a fiercely enveloping marvel, with Malick offering image after image like molten stained-glass panels.” — Fernando Croce, mubi.com
“It’s an experience that I haven’t been able to shake, like a waking dream.” — Richard Brody, New Yorker