Review: To the Wonder

April 11, 2013, 10:17 am
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Remember the fervor with which folks debated Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life? There will be zero debate about the merits of his latest work, To the Wonder — it's two hours of "artistic" torture.

Visually indistinguishable from Malick's 2011 soul-stirring showpiece in look and feel – aside from a beached Plesiosaur or roaming raptor – Ben Affleck's a vacationing-in-Paris construction worker who falls hard for a French gal (Olga Kurylenko, the Bond girl from Quantum of Solace) as the pair tour seaside castles, prancing about beaches that possess the elasticity of a bounce house.

The honeymoon phase comes to a screeching halt with the duo shacking up in the Sooner State, cohabitating in a depressing-as-all-hell suburban subdivision. Affleck's miserable existence allows the 40-year-old to deliver his perfunctory gravely-solemn routine, made famous in films like: Argo and The Town.

But Affleck is not alone in his suffering, Javier Bardem mopes around town as a spiritually-challenged priest and Rachel McAdams looks suitably dejected in her five – possibly six – minutes of screen time as Affleck's romantic rest stop.

Oh the despair.

Malick – as in The Tree of Life – floats whispers of philosophical gems such as: "Love makes us one", "What is this love that loves us?" and "I write on water what I dare not say". 

Forgive me for counting tiles on the theater's ceiling to pass the time.

With hiatuses as lengthy as twenty years between projects, To the Wonder is Malick's second film in less than two years, though it's a stretch to call it an actual "film". It's akin to one of those things that play in a loop on the wall of a contemporary art museum.

Malick's profound message permeating throughout: Living in Oklahoma blows.

Final Cut Score: 50%

@ErickWeber

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It was many moons ago in a darkened theater that my love of cinema took root as I snuck in to see my first R-rated film, Blade Runner. The futuristic vision that Ridley Scott unleashed on the screen was simply soul-expanding — spiritual even. From that moment, my mission to have that kind of magic strike again began in earnest. My hope is to be able to shine a light on films that may just have that kind of effect on you — films that may be lesser known, but not lesser in impact. 
             
- Erick Weber

Final Cut Scoring System
99-95% Opening night
94-90% Opening weekend
89-86% In theaters
85-83% On Demand
82-80% Netflix/Redbox
79-75% If desperate
74-70% If dozing off
69-65% If intoxicated
64-60% If comatose
Below 60% If brain dead

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