To The Wonder


He knows how to pick the prettiest postcard on the rack, just isn’t sure what to write on it.

Terrence Malick’s companion piece to “Tree of Life”, structured and in the much the same way as this, is a visually strong and breathtaking beautiful movie – like the 2011 film – that will have film enthusiasts barking over the brilliance of film over digital. It’s lavish sunsets and sunrises, lingering shots of buffalo in the terrain, running in the fields, and pressing skin are captured as only Malick knows how.

You can’t take your eyes away from the screen… which is probably a good thing, considering the words and action that accompany the pretty pictures don’t do much for the film as a whole.

While “Tree of Life” encompassed an over ambitious (way over ambitious) tale, the one in “To the Wonder” is so lightweight and unengaging that it’s a wonder Malick thought it deserved telling — let alone attracted such fine actors to help do the telling.

The film, set in the obviously picturesque, stars Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko and Rachel McAdams as star crossed lovers – though with most of the film occupied with the emotions and evolving relationship of Affleck and Kurylenko – who float about for a couple of hours, weaving in and out of different moods (not conveyed with words so much as expressions — there’s hardly any words in the picture) and in and out of each other’s lives.

The film’s a bit like the wankiest of Opera’s – atmospheric, gorgeous to look at, the music very stirring, and the performers giving it their all. But like even the best opera, many will walk away scratching their heads, confused as to what they’ve just witnessed while at the same time bewildered by how impactful simply music and pictures can be.

An outsider, particularly those looking for a gripping, straightforward narrative or something that resembles more a film and not an exhibition at the local photographers club, might want to see what else is playing before swapping green for stubs on “To the Wonder”.

This has been another Kodak moment.

DVD : Less extras on the disc than there is dialogue in the film, but the brief featurette and interview with Kurylenko is still worthwhile.