645557, Lucky enough to catch an advance screening of this..|
Posted by The Analyst, Sun Mar-31-13 09:41 AM
Look, I thought it was outstanding, but I'm a huge Malick admirer - I had Tree of Life as my top film of 2011 easily, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.
I do think, though, that many of the complaints people had about Tree of Life don't exist in this one. It's narrower in scope and as a result the narrative is a bit more focused. (For example, it doesn't go all the way back to the formation of the universe and it doesn't jump around throughout time.) It's also about a half an hour shorter.
It's obviously very similar aesthetically to his other movies in that it employs the same elliptical and abstract style. This one might even be slightly more abstract actually. There is very, very little meaningful dialogue (almost anything of consequence is said through voiceovers). Malick is really trying to push the limits of telling a story with as little dialogue as possible - he really wants to the images to tell the story.
The range of tones is also more narrow. Tree of Life pretty much touched on the whole spectrum - there were moments of rapture and moments of heartbreak, and everything in between. This is much more gloomy. It echoes some of the same broad themes, but overall this is more focused on disintegrating relationships - with lovers, with one's children, with god, with the natural world. There is a lot of symmetry and parallelism between different characters. It's deceptively layered. Again, it might feel a bit slight in comparison to its predecessor, but I don't it's any less the work of a master.
I'm looking forward to seeing this again. I continued thinking about it all day after I left the theater to the point where it was still my mind when I was trying to fall asleep last night. I'm getting closer and closer to agreeing with the opinion that Will voiced above, which is that this guy is the best American filmmaker currently at work...