Vertygo Team
To the Wonder - Terrence Malick

Terrence Malick's new film "To the Wonder" at the first screening in Venice

 
Terrence Malick Greatest Flop
 

Let me underline that we consider Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" one of the greatest masterpieces of Art of the last 20 years. And both "The Thin Red Line" and "The New World" were remarkable films.

We loved Malick's poetic, intense and poignant narration style in those 3 films, and even more the stunning coupling between the visual and the soundtrack music.

The start sequence of "The New World" with Wagner Rheingold Prelude is 4 minutes of astounding beauty and intense poetry. Similarly for the space sequences of "The Tree of Life" with Lacrimosa and Smetana's Moldau.

 
The Tree of Life
 
The Tree of Life - Trailer
Press Conference at the Cannes Film Festival

We think that Terrence Malick created a brand new form of Art with those 3 films, going well beyond the boundaries of what, in the Film Industry, usually is just entertainment.

Being in love with Terrence Malick poetic filming style, we decided to go to Venice, Italy, at the Venice Film Festival, on September 2, for the first screening of the new Terrence Malick film, "To the Wonder".

We were full of expectations for another masterpiece.

 
To The Wonder
 
To The Wonder - Review
Press Conference at the Venice Film Festival
Interview with Olga Kurylenko
and Romina Mondello - Video
Review of the Guardian UK - Video

"To the Wonder" was a disappointment, to be euphemistic.
The film is horrible.

Nothing to compare with "The Tree of Life".

Nothing to compare with "The Thin Red Line" or "The New World", either.

Everything in "To the Wonder" is dis-jointed, meaningless, and very superficial, up to the point of being totally stupid.
Even the photography and the marriage between the visual and the soundtrack is poor.

 

 
To The Wonder

Directed by

Produced by


Written by

Starring





Cinematography

Studio

Release Date
  Terrence Malick

Nicolas Gonda
Sarah Green

Terrence Malick

Ben Affleck
Olga Kurylenko
Javier Bardem
Rachel McAdams
Romina Mondello

Emmanuel Lubezki

Redbud Pictures

September 2, 2012 Venice Film Festival

"To the Wonder" seems just an endless series of 3 seconds idiotic shots attached togethed, without a storyline, without even a resemblance of attitude.

There are even some scenes shot in a supermarket, and one in a drive-through McDonald...
And this, being aware to be watching a Terrence Malick film, left us speechless.

 

About the Actors

The male protagonist - Ben Affleck - acts as a complete idiot, always with the same idiotic grin stamped on his meaningless face. The only things that he says in the whole movie is one word: "sorry". Most of the film is just voice-over - almost no dialogue. Absolute nothingness, complete void.

This is what best describes Ben Affleck's performance.
And we want to be fair.

We appreciated Javier Bardem in Woody Allen's film "Vicky, Christina, Barcelona".

He gave a very good interpretation in that film, very convincing.

In Malick's "To The Wonder" Javier Bardem is a catholic priest in full crisis, he lost faith and meaning in his pastoral work. Even to him Malick does not give room for dialogue, and he just "speaks" in voice-over mode.

Olga Kurylenko's performance is not as bad as Affleck's: she tries her best, but in a film with no screenplay, no storytelling, and no dialogue, it is not easy to act.

 
To The Wonder - Romina Mondello and Olga Kurylenko
Javier Bardem in "Vicky, Christina, Barcelona"


The interpretation of Rachel McAdams is totally irrilevant and non-existent. Just a blond dolly, how you can find many walking up and down Melrose Avenue or on the beach of Malibu.

The only light among actors is the Italian Romina Mondello: lively, joking and giving a very good acting, even if for just 3 minutes of the film.

The absurdity and stupidity of the film starts immediately, in an otherwise inspiring location, as Mont St. Michel, on the northern coast of Normandy, France. But even that location is vilified by Malick.

The character of Olga Kurylenko lives in Paris.
Malick gives us just a few views of Paris, and of the life of the couple in the French capital, mostly meaningless ones.

After some time, the couple decide to relocate from Paris to a nowhere place in Oklahoma. I wonder how stupid one person can be to make such a choice.

 
To The Wonder - Romina Mondello and Olga Kurylenko
Romina Mondello and Olga Kurylenko at the première of "To The Wonder" at the Venice Film Festival


No Love in "To The Wonder"

Terrence Malick remarked that "To The Wonder" is a film about love.
Let us say clearly that there is no love in "To The Wonder".

There is no love between Man and Woman. But this was true also in "The Tree of Life". There was no love by Mr. O'Brien (Brad Pitt) towards Mrs. O'Brien (Jessica Chastain). Nor there was love by Mrs. O'Brien towards Mr. O'Brien.The only love there was in "The Tree of Life" was from the mother (Jessica Chastain) towards her sons.

In "To The Wonder" there is no love at all, whatsoever.

In "To The Wonder" it seems that Malick is obsessed by a "search for God". A quite superficial one, either.

But, one moment: wasn't Terrence Malick graduated in Philosophy at Harvard?
Didn't he tried his Ph.D. in Philosophy in Oxford?
Didn't Malick translate a book by the philosopher Heidegger from German into English?

So, where has gone his logic and rational thinking?
Searching for "God" ?

What happened to Malick?

Age is running, time is running and he feels the last day of his life coming near and suddenly feels the need for a "whatsoever God"?

 
Terrence Malick
Film Director Terrence Malick

 

The Apex of Ridicule

But the apex of idiocy and ridicule in his yearn for a "God" was reached by Malick when he put in the mouth of the poor Javier Bardem such nonsense sentences as "Christ of the left, Christ of the right, Christ above, Christ below".
Are we joking?

And this is supposed to be a work by one of the best Film-makers in the world?
"Christ of the left, Christ of the right, Christ above, Christ below"?

Frankly, I had to admit I had to "boo" very loudly at the end of the screening.
And 70% of the audience in Venice followed my initial "boo".

Very few of the audience dared to applaude, and I ask myself:
did they applaude because they liked the film, or because of the Director's fame?

We cannot help, but ask ourselves:

What happened to Terrence Malick?
Did he lose himself?

 
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Terrence Malick - To The Wonder - Review
Terrence Malick - To The Wonder - Trailer
Terrence Malick - To The Wonder - Press Conference at the Venice Film Festival - 2012 - Video
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