To celebrate the release of TO THE WONDER on DVD & Blu-ray, we take a look at the acclaimed films of Terrence Malick.
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 the Badlands of Nebraska. It originally received mixed reviews on it’s release (like most of Malick’s films) but is now rightly seen as a masterpiece of American cinema.
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. It received mixed reviews upon release but it’s cinematography was praised and it was very well loved in Europe (normally the case with Malick’s films). Terrence Malick won best director at Cannes and Nestor Almendros an oscar for it’s groundbreaking cinematography. The oscar win was controversial due Haskell Wexler also being credited.
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 Bil Pullman, Gary Oldman and Mickey Rourke – to name but a few – were edited out of the theatrical cut.). It received universal critical acclaim and some awards that year even though it was overshadowed by the more successful Saving Private Ryan.
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 and it controversially won the Palme D’Or at the Cannes film festival.
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, religion). He already has 2 more films in post-production.
TO THE WONDER is released on DVD and Blu-ray on 17 June