The lives of two lovelorn spouses from separate marriages, a registered sex offender, and a disgraced ex-police officer intersect as they struggle to resist their vulnerabilities and temptations in suburban Connecticut.
Neil (Ben Affleck) is an American traveling in Europe who meets and falls in love with Marina (Olga Kurylenko), a Ukrainian divorcée who is raising her 10-year-old daughter Tatiana in Paris. The lovers travel to Mont St. Michel, the island abbey off the coast of Normandy, basking in the wonder of their newfound romance. Neil makes a commitment to Marina, inviting her to relocate to his native Oklahoma with Tatiana. He takes a job as an environmental inspector and Marina settles into her new life in America with passion and vigor. After a holding pattern, their relationship cools. Marina finds solace in the company of another exile, the Catholic priest Father Quintana (Javier Bardem), who is undergoing a crisis of faith. Work pressures and increasing doubt pull Neil further apart from Marina, who returns to France with Tatiana when her visa expires. Neil reconnects with Jane (Rachel McAdams), an old flame. They fall in love until Neil learns that Marina has fallen on hard times. ... Written by
Many of Malick's longtime collaborators returned for To the Wonder, including Jack Fisk (production design), Emmanuel Lubezki (cinematography), Sarah Green (producer), Jacqueline West (costume design), and David Crank (art direction). See more »
When Jane and Neil get out of their car in the midst of the bison, cameras reflected in the car windows and doors in various shots. See more »
no one i've seen uses a camera as does Terrence Malick: a steadicam traveling without looking back, relentlessly following characters in a rhythmic dance from one sequence to another, flowing around them and in the void, omniscient at times and absent at others. the thing about it is that it offers the viewer a hand, leading a lyrically visceral cinematic experience. i think it's correct to state that Malick starts shooting a giving scene when other filmmakers usually finish it.
Malick's way of utilizing actors in this film brings to mind Robert Bresson's idea that actors are models; vessels for dramatic purposes. he frames his characters only in fragments: a torso, a hand, a neck; almost awkward if one singles them out of the film's frame of reference. but the film itself has little interest in characters or story, really; instead, it aspires to illustrate and give soul to an ideal through the bodies and through the energy flowing in and between them. because happiness is cyclically ephemeral and change is imminent, love must exist as an abstraction, independent of specific instances.
to me, the film is an apotheosis of love, with narration reminiscent of a diary page about the pain that comes with love, and images shining with splendor. at times capable of filling the senses with serenity and beauty; especially when Kurylenko, with a brilliant emotional portrayal, is leading the journey. if it was up to me, though, i'd rather have it concentrate mostly on Kurylenko and Affleck; as the film wandered other territories, i found it to be losing focus.
concerning the jump cut editing style, while Malick strips down the medium to its barren bones, he communicates the narrative, if there's any, through memory. given the transient nature of memory, he shows only glimpses of the different angles of character accounts, explored through fleeting moments that shapes their innermost self.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?