Goldberg Reviews: To The Wonder
by Kenneth B. Goldberg
Apr 19, 2013 | 2283 views | 0 0 comments | 118 118 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ben Affleck and Olga Kurylenko
Ben Affleck and Olga Kurylenko
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To The Wonder, directed by Terrence Malick, is not a conventional movie.

As he tells the story through visuals, virtually with out dialogue, Malick’s images are, as usual, beautifully composed, allowing the actors to move physically through their roles. Their words are just whispers and infrequent.

The character Marina, played by Olga Kurylenko, moves through the film like a dancer in a ballet company, however it can be confusing to the audience, as she has almost no intelligence; just emotion and reaction.

It's hard to grasp the characters in this film because they never develop in the conventional manner. They just seem to display movement as emotion.

In one scene where Ben Affleck's character, Neil, gets into an arguing match with Marina, he just paces in silence. They fight but say little to one another.

Neil’s relationship seems trivial while he just plugs away at his job and comes home and does nothing but fix a fence of move furniture.

Javier Bardem plays Father Quintana, a priest struggling with his belief, serving the poor and the addicts who inhabit the dilapidated houses and buildings on the underprivileged side of the town.

He also whispers rather than speaking of his despair and looks for whether God has turned his back, searching for a real sign of his existence. This is the most interesting part of the film.

His relationship is spiritual and he is isolated as he talks through his pain of poverty and addiction.

Neil seems to go through relationships, almost as a bystander. In notes about the production, it said the director gave them a lot of interesting material to read and worked with the actors in the seven-week shoot, though it isn’t conveyed because they never become real people in the visual canvas.

It's hard to describe the relationship between Jane (Rachel McAdams) who seems to be an old flame of Neil’s. She has plans to marry Neil that never pan out. I guess she is supposed to represent America, but she is dressed in ridiculous farm girl attire.

Help, are you getting lost? Well that is how the film rolls on and on, through one striking image after another, exploring Neil’s relationship with two of the most beautiful women you will ever see on the screen.

Marina is always dressed in the stunning fabrics, and you wonder how Neil could afford to pay for that French couture.

The film honestly is hard to sit through.

The images are beautiful so I won't knock what Mallik was trying to do: telling a story with mostly images and little dialogue.

To me, it worked when the priest was struggling with his spiritual relationship with God. Even though he whispered, it was clear what he was facing.

The other relationships in the film were trivial. I got tired of the girl dancing around and Affleck going from no emotion to brooding. That was often boring.

Even while it was a powerfully film visually, I don't know if the part of the film that focuses on the priest is enough to recommend.

I felt the movie was brilliant in intent, but it didn't materialize correctly in the final cut. Let's hope Mallik pays a little more attention to his audience or he won't have one next time.
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