Friday, October 14, 2016


Voyage Of Time kind of feels like the movie Terrence Malick has been working towards since The Thin Red Line in terms of how he works with actors. I'm a fan of Terrence Malick. To take it a step further - I'm more a fan of the post-Tree Of Life Malick than I am the pre-Thin Red Line Malick. A lot more. But if there's one (recent) criticism I have is that he kind of uses actors like disposable parts rather than actual people. Look...people get cut out of movies all the time. It's nothing new. But that seems to be a regular thing with Terrence Malick more than any other filmmaker in the last 20 years. Adrien Brody's presence in The Thin Red Line was chopped to pieces (in addition to quite a few big name actors not even making it to the film at all). Michael Sheen & Amanda Peet got completely cut out of To The Wonder and there have been a few rumblings of certain actors getting the Adrien Brody/Thin Red Line Treatment in Knight Of Cups. There have also been a few accounts of Malick being a little tough to deal with because he's more concerned with filming random scenes of nature than he is communicating with the actual actors/people looking for some kind of guidance/direction. None of those things are a problem this time around because there are no actors in Voyage Of Time. He can now film all the lingering nature shots he wants and not have to interact with humans. Voyage Of Time isn't really a plot-driven film. It is about the evolution of mankind and the progression of human civilization but the film flows more like a lucid dream rather than something that has a beginning, middle & end. There is a fictionalized Quest For Fire/Walkabout-esque sequence towards the end that does use actors (without actual dialogue), but for the most part Terrence Malick's latest is a "poetic documentary" that looks like a combination of the extended footage from the creation scene in Tree Of Life and the B-role camera footage at the beginning of Knight Of Cups & To The Wonder. With that description (which is pretty accurate if I might say so) you can see that Voyage Of Time fits in perfectly with the rest of the films in Terrence Malick's cinematic universe but it also has a lot in common with other films outside of that wheelhouse...


Quite frankly, Voyage Of Time could have easily been a Werner Herzog movie (with a few alterations). Terrence Malick's latest film features breathy existential voiceover (I know that's a staple of Malick but it's also very much a Herzog-ism as well) and shots of volcanoes, waterfalls and other forms of Mother Nature. Sounds similar to some of Herzog's films doesn't it? I know people are quick to call Malick's movies pretentious, silly, stupid or whatever (sometimes without even seeing them) but when you strip them down they share a lot of strong similarities to other films - like Herzog - that don't face the same harsh criticisms.

And if the Herzog comparison doesn't work for you then I'll say that Voyage Of Time is Malick's version of Baraka, Powaqqutsi or Koyaanasquati (there's no doubt in my mind that these films heavily influenced Malick this time rather than Andrei Tarkovsky).

Koyaanasquati / Voyage Of Time

Like I say with every post-New World Terrence Malick film, this is more in line with Tree Of Life & To The Wonder than Badlands & Days Of Heaven. We're now on movie #4 of Malick's experimentally poetic period. You know exactly what to expect so don't go in to this expecting to not hear dreamy voiceover narration about our existence on earth.
And whether you like Malick or not, there is no denying that Voyage Of Time is a movie-going experience and should be seen on a big screen.


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