TO THE WONDER written and directed by Terrence Malick, with Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Olga Kurylenko and Rachel McAdams. A VVS Films release. 112 minutes. Some subtitles. Opens Friday (April 19). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNN
Terrence Malick follows The Tree Of Life in record time with an even more experimental feature that turns the ups and downs of a contemporary couple (Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko) into an epic examination of the human condition.
The near absence of dialogue and the stream-of-consciousness structure guarantee To The Wonder will prove even more divisive than The Tree Of Life; it really is the sort of movie people have accused Malick of making all along - just long takes of people wandering through the tall grass thinking about God in at least three different languages.
But preciousness aside, it's also a new kind of relationship movie, in which Affleck and Kurylenko fully inhabit their conflicted characters even without words. Rachel McAdams turns in a powerhouse cameo as a radiant young woman who threatens to steal Affleck's character's heart. Oh, and there are also buffalo. Seriously.