‘To The Wonder’ Review: Where Viewers May Wonder Whether They Can Sit Through It All
Director Terence Malick’s visual poetry reaches new heights in the Ben Affleck-led To The Wonder. The result is a near silent piece of filmmaking that uses images to rattle our emotions, challenging viewers to draw conclusions to a very loosely plotted exercise.
Affleck stars as a man caught between his foreign lover and an American childhood friend. Malick uses imagery and some light voiceover to set most of the story up. Things happen over time so there is not a true plot line that is discernable up front, which forces the viewer to stay incredibly tuned in to the material in order to uncover the meaning.
The film is a meandering one, with characters often walking around seemingly aimless and mute. They use their vision and touch to interact or not. This can be a challenging experience for any filmgoer not to mention the actors, including Javier Bardem, Rachel McAdams and Olga Kurylenko. The whole thing is not without its merits, however.
Bardem’s priest struggles with his faith and desires for a female lover. Kurylenko loves Affleck but can’t seem to capture his heart and thus their commitment is tested. The whole thing is interesting but still leaves you wanting some form of traditional storytelling. Even though Malick’s lens gives you some usual visual treats, the sometimes mundane setting of what appears to be a Texas town can’t compare to his last effort Tree of Life.
If that film left you challenged, then this film is not for you. This is a mood film that you must be open minded for. If you simply can’t have enough of The Thin Red Line director, then have a look, but be prepared for a completely unique “movie.”