Looking back at Terrence Malick

To celebrate the release of TO THE WONDER on DVD & Blu-ray, we take a look at the acclaimed films of Terrence Malick.

Badlands (1973)

Malick’s debut set the precedent for what has been a career spanning four decades (and counting). Badlands is narrated by Sissy Spacek’s Holly, a teenager who becomes an accomplice to Martin Sheen’s Kit as they go on a killing-spree across America.  Seen as a culturally-defining film of its time, it comes as no surprise to learn that Malick was the protégé of Arthur Penn (Bonnie and Clyde.)

Days of Heaven (1978)

Malick’s second feature perhaps set the tone for his style better than his debut, with Days of Heaven more an art film than anything else. Panned upon release, not aided by a troubled shoot, the film is highly regarded as being one of the best examples of cinematography in cinema, with the imagery universally lauded – a common notion throughout all of Malick’s films.

The Thin Red Line (1998)

Absent from cinema for 20 years, Malick returned with this war film boasting a hugely impressive ensemble cast, ranging from Sean Penn, John Travolta to John Cusack (reportedly, appearances from Martin Sheen, Gary Oldman and Mickey Rourke – to name but a few – were edited out of the theatrical cut.) Receiving critical acclaim and awards glory, The Thin Red Line was the film that proved with  just three films, Malick has carved himself a cinematic legacy.

The New World (2005)

Commencing the script in the late 70s, Malick finally began work on this film in 2004, with its release arriving the following year; a historical romance, The New World depicts the founding of the Jamestown, Virginia settlement. Although a box office disappointment, critics revelled in the art that Malick’s films so effortlessly contain.

The Tree of Life (2011)

It is clear Malick has always been teetering on the experimental, and The Tree of Life is arguably his first foray into this spectrum as his film chronicles the origins of life through a middle-aged man’s memories. Although the cast boasts impressive turns from Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain and Sean Penn, it is Malick’s visual flair that steals the film and remains in the memory long after.  Not to everybody’s tastes, but there’s no denying this is a filmmaking feat.

To the Wonder (2012)

Returning to screens so soon after The Tree of Life may alarm many, but we should simply be grateful we have another Malick offering to marvel at. To the Wonder is as poetically meditative as his previous offerings, including a cast as impressive (Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Olga Kurylenko and  Javier Bardem) with themes just as prevalent (romance, existentialism.)

TO THE WONDER is released on DVD and Blu-ray on 17 June

 

About The Author

Reviews Editor, Contributor and Festival Coordinator

Ollie has written for Front Row Reviews pretty much since its inception about seven years ago whilst still studying Film & Television. Since then, he was trust into the world of independent film distribution and has recently started working with Picturehouse Entertainment in their Marketing Department. Having written and produced two radio series, he is moving hoping to (one day) write a web series/short film/feature (delete as appropriate ;)). His favourite director is David Lynch (which makes him make a lot of sense!) and his favourite films are The Hours, Mulholland Drive, Volver, Blade Runner and Bridget Jones Diary.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.