Terrence Malick Film-By Film Thread

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by masswriter, Feb 9, 2016.

  1. masswriter

    masswriter Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    New Hampshire
    I have an avid interest in Malick's films and have written/edited a book that is an oral history of how they were made.

    Badlands (1973)
    Days of Heaven (1978)
    The Thin Red Line (1998)
    The New World (2005)
    The Tree of Life (2011)
    To the Wonder (2012)
    Knight of Cups (2016
    Weightless (?)
    Voyage of Time (?)

    I would like to try to avoid clichéd dismissals of his work ("perfume ad" for example), and that any voiced criticism weighed in with specific reasons so that maybe we can learn from your perspective. That being said, anyone that has only watched a film once and weighs in on that single viewing isn't judging a film fairly (no more than say watching Tarkovsky once can lend to an informed reasonable opinion).

    We can also chime in on side projects (produced films) when the occasion arises.

    I thought we'd start off with overall impressions of the man himself before jumping into Badlands.
     
  2. ermylaw

    ermylaw Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Kansas City
    Malick is one of my favorite filmmakers. His most recent trilogy of films -- The Tree of Life, To the Wonder, and Knight of Cups -- are a sublime meditation on life, transcendence, faith, and materialism. These films are excellent examples of the way that the form of the film-making can serve to advance the theme of the film. Malick is masterful at using his style to advance the theme of his films.

    I don't think that Malick really compares with any other filmmaker. But Tarkovsky is an interesting comparison, especially considering the subjects of meditation in the last few Malick films.
     
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  3. The Absent-Minded Flaneur

    The Absent-Minded Flaneur Well-Known Member

    Location:
    The EU
    Hope you get a good response to this thread. I'm not an admirer of Malick's later work, but Badlands and Days of Heaven are fascinating and there is plenty to debate in all his movies.
     
  4. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dixie
    Not starting off with Lanton Mills throws the viability of this entire thread into question.

    I'll be here through Badlands. After that people begin saying things like "a sublime meditation on life, transcendence, faith, and materialism".
     
  5. Bryan

    Bryan Starman Jr.

    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    I assume you're joking, since it's pretty much impossible to see that film.
     
  6. masswriter

    masswriter Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    New Hampshire
    if anyone can chime in on Lanton Mills, then they can feel free over the next day :)
     
  7. ermylaw

    ermylaw Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Kansas City
    I call 'em how I see 'em.

    It's art -- sometimes it affects one person one way and affects another person another way. Malick seems to be particularly divisive.
     
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  8. Ron Stone

    Ron Stone Offending Member

    Location:
    Deep Maryland
    I'm one of those rare folks who thinks THE NEW WORLD is his best film, because the narrative organically supports his themes. That is, his usual philosophical inquiries are already in the story, so they don't feel forced or artificial.

    I also like THE NEW WORLD because it looks right -- that's one peninsula over from me and I knew it was filmed in the "correct" locale before seeing the end credits. My only quibble was that our current forests aren't anywhere as impressive as what these historical figures would have seen. But I don't know where Mallick could have filmed an old growth eastern seaboard forest, except a green screen and massive amounts of CGI.
     
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  9. malcolm reynolds

    malcolm reynolds Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Badlands is one of the greatest films ever made. Then zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

    OK, that is all I am going to contribute to this thread.
     
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  10. guidedbyvoices

    guidedbyvoices Forum Resident

    Location:
    Alpine, TX
    I know little about mallick. My intro to him was seeing a thin red line and not getting it at all. War is not poetry. But that was in the theater and I could really use to try seeing it again fresh.

    Many years later I caught badlands on hdtv movies channel. Couldn't believe how young sheen and spacek looked and got pulled into the film. I love the acting, the story, the pace of it. Just a great enjoyable film, a different spin on the murderous teens. The criterion Blu Ray looks fantastic and has some solid extras, namely interviews with spacek and sheen today.
     
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  11. masswriter

    masswriter Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    New Hampshire
    I believe that Criterion will be re-issuing The New World in the months to come ...
     
  12. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    Badlands (1973) 7.5
    Days of Heaven (1978) 7.5
    The Thin Red Line (1998) 9.0
    The New World (2005) 10/10
    The Tree of Life (2011) 5/10
    To the Wonder (2012) 5/10
    Knight of Cups (2016 ( guess another low score, ditto the below).
    Weightless (?)
    Voyage of Time (?)
    Meditative" prefer Tarkovsky.
     
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  13. Ron Stone

    Ron Stone Offending Member

    Location:
    Deep Maryland
    Nice. There are two different edits of the film on DVD, so I wonder if they'll issue both or even a third edit.

    The end of THE NEW WORLD was one of the most emotionally compelling pieces of film I've ever seen. Yet if asked to explain it, I'd have a hard time!
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016
  14. Bryan

    Bryan Starman Jr.

    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    It would be nice to get the theatrical cut of The New World on blu-ray, if just for historical purposes. I've only ever seen the director's cut, since that's all there is on the current BD.
     
  15. GodShifter

    GodShifter The Last in Line®

    Location:
    Dallas, TX, USA
    One of my favorite directors but To The Wonder had me really scratching my head as to what was going on in Malick's head. I thought it was absolutely awful.

    Count me as really liking The New World. It's one of my favorite films.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016
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  16. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    Malick made Colin Farrell lose weight for the part.
     
  17. GodShifter

    GodShifter The Last in Line®

    Location:
    Dallas, TX, USA
    I read somewhere that he and Farrell butted heads quite a bit during the filming of it.
     
  18. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    End result proved beneficial for the both of them.
     
  19. htom

    htom Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    So much for adhering to the thread mission statement.

    As to Malick's style, it seems to me that his films resemble those of Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar-wai in that the scenario is neither complete nor concrete during the filming. What we see in the end then is the assemblage of captured moments, for better or for worse. In one way, that means that editing is key for his films, perhaps more so than the performances, which can result in a trademark voiceover for both directors. To me, this style results in me looking at both the actors and the settings or surroundings. That can give a sense of immediacy even though almost all of his films have been set in the past. The New World has that kind of immersive quality to me.
     
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  20. Alert

    Alert Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Great River, NY
    This response may not be the proper order that the OP has requested for this thread but...

    I've seen Badlands many times and love it but, I'm not an expert on Malick. However, I've been very impressed with two of his recent films (The New World and Tree of Life). Though his narrative/editing sometimes confounds me I love his use of music. Some of his selections in Tree of Life ("Funeral Canticle" Tavener, Berlioz: 10 Agnus Dei for example) I find powerfully evocative. Also, the opening scene in The New World is one of the most impressive I've seen in cinema. His use of Wagner's "Das Rheingold (Prelude)" is masterful.

    He uses this music again at the end of the film and again it intensifies the visual imagery but in a completely different sense (emotional).

    Very effective and quite impressive.
     
  21. alexpop

    alexpop Power pop + other bad habits....

    The Thin Red Line ~ has to be the best WWII Pacific war film ever.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016
  22. PNeski@aol.com

    PNeski@aol.com Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York
    The first two are two of the my Favorite films ,The third is not as great ,but is still very good That film is the best of his later Films ,the first to show off his newer (and not my taste) style ,which has way to much camera movement and steadycam
    for my likes
     
  23. ermylaw

    ermylaw Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Kansas City
    If you didn't like The Tree of Life and To the Wonder, you're probably not going to like Knight of Cups. Perhaps you will find they work together, though. Knight of Cups draws heavily from the imagery used in the previous two films in order to get across its theme.
     
  24. Cellar Drops

    Cellar Drops Member

    My overall impression of Terrence Malick is what I said to my coworker/friend/fellow film buff after we saw The Thin Red Line: "Regardless of whether anyone thinks Malick's films are good or bad, I'm glad someone is making them."
     
  25. GodShifter

    GodShifter The Last in Line®

    Location:
    Dallas, TX, USA
    Better than Windtalkers ?

    Blasphemy!! :realmad:

    ;)
     
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