Recently I saw a screening of this at the Brattle Theatre in
The film is like a dream. After leaving it, you stumble around sleepily not sure what to think. You can't remember much of it unless you really concentrate. I'm not sure how this is done. The actors voices drift in and out and don't always align with their mouths. It could be a flaw but it could be deliberate. Almost the entire film was shot at "magic hour" which is just after a sunset or before a sunrise. The choice to have Ennio Morricone score the film was a stroke of genius - the "wheat fields" theme is one of the most haunting ever composed. This was Morricone's stage in transition from his spaghetti westerns, now moving on to his more traditional (yet still exceptional) scores for films like "The Untouchables" "The Red Tent" "The Sicilian Clan" "Excorsist II" "The Mission" and "Cinema Paradiso." In showing his remarkable flexibility Morricone has revealed himself to be one of the greatest composers of film or otherwise in the New Age.
It's the earlier 20th century, sometime between 1915 and 1930. In
Its not likely you'll find it in most video stores, if I were you I'd do what I did and just buy it off Amazon.com. Unless you're idea of a great time at the cinema is "Star Wars: Episode 2" or "Pirates of the
They are played by Richard Gere and Brooke Adams, who were shockingly enough both neglected by the Oscars that year (the only Oscar that film would pick up was for Cinematography - it remains the only Oscar a Malick film has ever won). In the first scene of the film we catch a glimpse of Bill (Gere) getting into a fight and running away with Abby (
Instead I shall describe one of the best scenes in the film, one where a plague of locusts floods the farm. The Farmer sends all his workers out to try and kill as many as possible in a bonfire, which eventually catches to the fields. The fire spreads out in a circle and the field, which, once beautiful, has turned into hell. The frame is filled with fire and smoke and we see the silhouettes of the workers trying to find a way out of the fire, looking for a place they might be able to jump through. Finally the camera cuts back and we see the entire field, a large portion of the middle blazing furiously. And a horse carried cart wagon runs around in circles, the back ablaze, spreading the fire wherever it runs. Malick's Christian socialist themes are noticeably at work here, especially in a horrifying shot of a machine that has lost control and caught fire, plowing forward over terrified workers. Once a symbol of agricultural produce and technological advancement, it has betrayed the species that created it and is bent in destroying them.
You could die in a freak accident tomorrow, so please make sure you see this film as soon as possible.