Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Confession: Up to this point, I've never cared much for the work of Terrence Malick. Before tonight I had always considered him too slow, moody, practiced: too much like Tarkovsky for my taste. I always knew I was suppose to adore Days of Heaven for being shot entirely during the magic hour, but I remember being supremely bored by it. I can't properly recall his first two pictures, but I know I saw Badlands at some point years ago and for some reason don't have any particularly negative memories of it. I do, however, remember very clearly the night in 1998 when I went to the movie theater in Las Vegas by myself to see The Thin Red Line, and after the first twenty five minutes got up and walked out, which now seems like a kind of complement given the infrequency of my having such a strong emotional reaction.

But tonight I watched his 2005 film The New World and I must say for the most part I enjoyed it. Sure, at times it felt a little like a Victorian era romance, and the music was questionable, and I still can't get with Malick's style of floating narrative omniscience, but then again there were moments that stunned me and resonated like poetry -- a rare quality, especially in American cinema.