Chris and Dylan reconvene for the first normal podcast of 2016 and talk about Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth, starring Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, and Sean Harris. They then talk Golden Globe winners, Oscar nominees and what’s coming out on Blu-ray this week. Dylan discusses how his first viewing of Brokeback Mountain went, and Chris talks about Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups. Next week, we will be taking a look at Dirty Grandpa.
Title: To The Wonder Genre(s): Drama, Romance Director(s): Terrence Malick Release Year: 2013
With 2011’s The Tree of Life, I was completely confused by the positive reception it had received. It felt like a Terrence Malick film, designed only for Terrence Malick to enjoy. With To The Wonder, nothing has changed, except that Malick has eradicated any interesting ideas from his previous film and boiled it down to one over-arching theme: love. How does that love manifest itself? Where can we find it? Is it guaranteed that we will find it? Unfortunately for To The Wonder, it is too broad of a topic and most of the characters are not developed enough to truly appreciate their situations. Because of this lack of development, the film ultimately becomes a series of beautifully shot scenes, that are just as enigmatic and ambiguous as love itself.
Following a handful of different characters, To The Wonder utilizes each one to portray some aspect of love. Olga Kurylenko plays Marina, a woman in France who has fallen in love with Neil (Ben Affleck) and decided to follow him back to Oklahoma to try and start a life there with her daughter. Neil is reclusive in manner, talking very little and tries to avoid being too emotional. In fact, very rarely do you actually see Neil’s face, where most often the camera will only make its way up to his mouth, but more often focusing on his back. So even if Affleck was acting, Malick wasn’t having it. However, though Marina feels like the main character, Neil is the one who we follow more often, even though he primarily just drifts in and out of scenes. There’s also a priest (played by Javier Bardem) who is having problems instilling faith in his patrons because of his own lack of love for what he’s doing. He has so many questions for God, and he sees so much turmoil going on around him that he can’t seem to be hopeful.