Rick is a screenwriter living in Los Angeles, California. While he's successful in his career, his life feels empty. Haunted by the death of one brother and the dire circumstances of the other, he finds temporary solace in the Hollywood excess that defines his existence. Women provide a distraction to the daily pain he must endure, and every encounter that comes his way brings him closer to finding his place in the world. The film is divided into eight chapters (each named after a tarot card, except for the final chapter Freedom), plus a prologue, each loosely based around the central character's relationship with somebody in his life..
In an interview with Belgian newspaper "Het Laatste Nieuws" in April 2015, Joel Kinnaman said that he had worked on a seventeen-page monologue for three weeks, and when he arrived on set, writer and director Terrence Malick said: "If y'all have something to say, it's not important what y'all say, but I just want a slice of life." Kinnaman said that the script was utterly worthless, and that he had to hire three acting coaches just to decipher it. According to Kinnaman, the dialogue was made for someone out of the 1940s, and that nobody uses such language anymore. There was also no background information at all, and the actors and actresses just had to figure it all out by themselves. He wasn't too fond of Christian Bale either. He said that Bale just walked off when Kinnaman was about to do his dialogue with him, shaming him in front of two hundred extras. Kinnaman said that he had never felt so embarrassed in his whole life. The final straw was when filming a scene, Malick was thirty meters away filming a pink dog instead. That's when Kinnaman said "fu-ck this shit", and that's the last they heard of him on the set of the movie. See more »
A subtle degree of existentialism which grows on you the longer the movie runs
It takes a while of watching the movie before starting to appreciate it. However, the longer you get, the more it starts growing on you. Its modernistic style is certainly not for everyone - but the combination of beautiful pictures and captivating music as well as the subtle messages of the flick, is in my opinion brilliant. As with many modernistic pieces it requires that you as a spectator participate, which is very giving, that is, if you actually do it. Then you will experience the emptiness we as human beings have to wrestle with: the apathetic nature of just following the flow: the slumber we experience the moment we stop being active and stop shaping our existence. The movie is a reminder not to fall in slumber, but to wake up and see the pearl.
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