Broadsheet Trailer Park: To The Wonder


What you may need to know.

1. Visionary filmmaker Terrence Malick took a twenty-year break between his second and third movies. Now he’s just shot three new ones in eighteen months.

2. To The Wonder is Malick’s first movie set entirely in the modern era.

3. Actors like Rachel Weisz, Jessica Chastain and Michael Sheen have had their parts entirely cut from the movie; Terry’s fond of ‘finding’ his films in post-production, notoriously turning Adrien Brody’s leading role in The Thin Red Line (1998) to a bit-part.

4. A decade ago Ben Affleck was a burned-out has-been: today’s he’s an acclaimed filmmaker in his own right, and increasingly choosy when it comes to picking acting roles.

5. To The Wonder is the first Malick movie to be greeted with a largely negative response; at its Venice premiere, they laughed when Bond baddie Javier Bardem turned up as a priest.

6. We say if you’ve done Badlands (1973), Days Of Heaven (1978) and The New World (2005), you can pretty much do whatever you fancy. Any Tree Of Life (2011) lovers out there?

Release Date: April 2013 (TBC)

34 thoughts on “Broadsheet Trailer Park: To The Wonder

  1. Bobby

    Tree of Life in the cinema…..the old man in front of me fell asleep but I really liked it. Though, I perhaps loved the idea that such a thing could be made and would appear in cinemas more than I actually loved the film.

    1. Not Gerry Adams

      I was that old man who fell asleep. Later I woke up, balls full of semen and wondered why they were so; and I realised it was because I hadn’t been wanking off at a wanky picture like Tree Of Life. Fey, thy name is Bobby.

    1. Eliot Rosewater

      Disliking the Tree of Life doesn’t mean that people are afraid of films that aren’t your usual multiplex blockbusters. For me, personally, the Tree of Life was pretentious wank, interrupted by a presumably unintentionally hilarious middle bit (yes, the dinosaurs) with nothing to say that hasn’t already been said and nothing to show us that hasn’t already been done. But, of course, if you’re a maverick film director, and have a film with long pregnant pauses, you will be adored by some as visionary.

      1. baa

        Hello Mr. Rosewater

        “with nothing to say that hasn’t already been said and nothing to show us that hasn’t already been done.”

        I’m sorry if this is a pain in the ass request for clarification but:
        What do you think it was saying?
        What do you think it was saying that has already been said?
        What did you think it showed that was already been shown (presumably in a better way, if so what films would you recommend in this regard)?

        Personally i’m a little frustrated with your point of view, or the way your comment is pegging the people who liked it as being fooled, i.e. fooled into thinking that certain stylised touches have depth but are in fact empty/pseudo artistic posturing.
        Personally I empathize with your point of view because I’ve pegged/generalised large swathes of people in the exact same way with other films. (Wes Anderson fans for example. Or the people who liked Holy Motors.)

        imo The tree of life is flawed, but I don’t think its as flawed/wanky as you are making out, and I think its an improvement on the new world. I think the middle family section is well observed for example.

        Also, just so I get a sense of your perceptions/taste before I totally go overboard with caring about what you said, what do you think of Malicks other films, (Badlands and The Thin Red Line for example)?

    1. Katherinthomas'cocainehabit

      That’s a bold statement but I’ll take mindless rubbish over pompous bullshit any day of the week.

  2. Fargo Boyle

    I think Tree of Life was also jeered when it was screened at Cannes. I have to say I thought it was one of the best films of last year although i disliked the dinosaur sequence. Looking forward to this.

  3. Darragh

    Everything decent gets jeered at Cannes.

    I saw this a couple of months ago in Toronto. It’s fine but very much just a b-side to Tree of Life. There’s nothing new or surprising here; it’s very much just Malick doing what he’s done already in his last two films (essentially making the film like a poem rather than the usual novel/theatre/comic book based film)

    There’s hardly anything worth booing in there though either. I’d find that a bit of an odd reaction. Pretty sure ALL of Malick’s films have garnered similar kinds of criticism. If nothing else, it’s just plain rude to be jeering things in the cinema. Should I start listening to the critical opinion of yer wan texting away in the back and mouthing about some bullshit she did over the weekend as well?

    1. baa

      +1 for being sane.
      Personally I’d be surprised if I came across someone bitching about Badlands. Although I wouldn’t rule it out. ‘Transformers 2’ fans for example.

      1. Continuity Jay-Z

        Badlands sucks. The special effects are crap. Transformers 3 on the other hand. Also Badlands had no budget. Nothing good was ever made with a small budget.

        Lastly Badlands is so unoriginal it had to rip off a Bruce Springsteen song for ideas. Phfft. Transformers 1, 2 and three are all original ideas.

    1. baa

      ‘The Fountain’ = bleuch. terrible terrible, terrible film that tries to make a comment on mortality/humanness but does so in clunky shallow manner.
      The Thin Red Line = Very good film that makes comments about mortality/humanness in a far superior manner. One of the best films of the 90s. (Martin Scorcese said so not just me.)

      Christopher Nolan is a fan of Malick. So is David Fincher. So is Michael Bay. Yeah kidding about the last guy (or actually thats too judgmental I don’t know if Bay likes Malick.)

      I think his last two films (particularly the New World) have their flaws (Colin Feckin Farrell among them) but I really recommend Badlands and if you’re up for it the Thin Red Line.

      Here’s Christopher Plummer criticising Malick (he worked for him in The New World.) George Clooney mentions the Adrien Brody thing in point 3 above:

      I think Plummer’s pov here has merit. I think when Malick dealt with something far more personal in the family section of the Tree of Life (rather than say distant historical figures in TNW) you can tell their was a significant improvement in terms of capturing group dynamics and the characters within it and the little minutiae of life of that period and setting. The family section of that film just felt more in depth, human and personal then the characterisation in the TNW.

      Mark Kermode Criticism:

      I think because of the historical distance/significance/romanticism and lack of personal insight, The New World sometimes strays into parody of Malicks signature aesthetics, does not contain the depth it claims to have and is therefore empty/pretentious, usually in the lurve scenes, (or the scenes involving Colin Farrell’s voiceover or presence, for some strange reason. Although its not just down to the actor but also the writing of those scenes. )
      Elements of the film are very admirable though and it certainly has its moments.
      1 Example, imo:

  4. Aidanm

    Tree Of Life is a shallow person’s idea of what a deep film looks like. He was once a fine film-maker. Now he’s just a spoofer.

    1. baa

      Sorry to bother you, I have some questions if you have the time to answer:
      What films of his do you like?
      At what stage do you think he became a spoofer and (in terms of film content) what change/approaches made you classify him as such?
      Could you recommend any films you liked that you consider to be genuinely deep (as opposed to a shallow person’s perception of deep)?

  5. waitforit

    It’s being released on February 22nd.

    Just to weigh in on the dinosaurs in ToL,I thought that scene was the key to the film.It’s about the evolution of species and the development of compassion,mercy, and grace,the recognition of something outside oneself and its needs,ideals I think it’s fair to say Malick is concerned with (remember the soldier in the village trying to protect his injured colleague in TTRL?

    1. baa

      I think you’re dead right about the dinosaurs. I understand why he included that scene. But I think its just the fact of seeing cgi creatures in a Malick film, the end result is jarring.
      The dinosaurs artificiality (in terms of visual appearance/presence) knocks you out of the ambiance of the film, if you get my drift.

    1. baa

      What films are these?
      I thought the same as Broadsheet
      2nd Feature length as director = Days of Heaven (1978)
      3rd Feature length as director = The Thin Red Line (1998)

      1. baa

        I think Parp might be referring to ‘Lanton Mills’ (1969).

        If thats the case, i’d cut Delboy a bit of slack on that one.
        I wouldn’t have included it either, considering it was a student made short that wasn’t released theatrically and its been seen by very few.

        If it isn’t Lanton Mills Parp I’d love to know, I’m not aware of any other shorts.

        On a totally related note I enjoy referring to a person as Parp. A Terrence Malick fan no less.

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