Terrence Malick became a critics' darling, a hot young director to watch, with his first two features, "Badlands" (1973) and "Days of Heaven" (1978). Then he disappeared for 20 years.
By the time he returned with "The Thin Red Line," he had become, not surprisingly, a cinema legend.
His 2011 "Tree of Life" was the best of four "recent" (i.e., within the last 15 years) efforts. A slightly disguised memoir of his youth, that film was almost a memory-driven time machine, making suburban Texas in the '50s so real, so tangible, that the viewer had the remarkable sensation of being there.
And of course this one doesn't have dinosaurs or exploding stars.
The central line running through "Tree of Life" was something like, "Dad could be scary, but now I realize the frustrations that fueled his anger, and Mom pulled us through by sheer grace, and I'm still working all that stuff out. Oh, and what is life all about, anyway?" In "To the Wonder," it's more like "I think I love my wife but maybe not and she's kinda crazy, and I like someone else but fatherhood would be cool. Oh, yes: and what is life all about, anyway?"
The story simply meanders as Neil (
We really don't much care. Neil is a cipher, utterly opaque. This may partly be the fault of Affleck — he simply is not as powerful or skilled an actor as
By one of those odd coincidences of distribution, Kurylenko also stars in this week's big science fiction actioner, the
It's 2077, and a war with invading aliens has left Earth uninhabitable. The remaining humans are building a colony on Titan, one of Saturn's moons, and Jack (Cruise) is part of a cleanup team — along with Victoria (
The semifinal big sequence intercuts current time — I think — with Cruise visually remembering a previous mission — I think — as he listens to the flight recorder. And then the dead walk again — I think.
Maybe I fried my brain sitting too close to the
As directed by Joseph Kosinski (