Terrence Malik’s previous film, Tree of Life, was something of a revelation for me, and I decided that despite everything, I loved it.
So I was ready for, and indeed looking forward to, To The Wonder. Sadly, this fell flat.
I didn’t care enough about the characters because I wasn’t allowed to get to know them, and for a story about love, there was little depth to the emotion on screen; I couldn’t feel any chemistry between any of the lovers.
The biggest problem was actually in the casting – Olga Kurylenko was just so annoying with her scampering through fields, looking over her shoulder to make sure we were still following her, conveying childishness rather than instability. And Ben Affleck just doesn’t have the acting range to be silent and enigmatic when you can only see the back of his head.
It looks gorgeous, but lacks substance.
Very watchable account of true events in Chile in 1988, when international pressure forced dictator Augusto Pinochet into a referendum on whether his dictatorship should continue.
Gael Garcia Bernal plays the advertising executive who agrees to manage the anti-Pinochet No campaign in the face of threats from the government’s lackeys.
This is the third in a loose trilogy of films set in and around the dictatorship of Pinochet by director Pablo Larrain (Tony Manero and Post Mortem being the other two, and well worth a watch although they are all very different).
An interesting touch is the actual look of the film. It’s set in 1988, and has been filmed using equipment from that time, resulting in an aged, retro image on screen, which also made it easier to mix in original footage with the film itself.
Like very much.
A “film of two halves”.
The first section – setting up the background, justifying the mindsets and actions taken, establishing the characters – was, for me at least, too episodic: This Happened, then This Happened, and then This, and … yes, OK, we can see why you want to get the bad men. And yet in reality, little of this exposition was actually relevant to the plot.
The action sequence which depicts the final showdown, however, was film making of the highest quality. Filmed in low light, there is never any doubt as to what’s happening,and it’s exquisitely portrayed.
But the disadvantage of not really ‘getting’ the characters in the first movement left me with little connection ot Jessica Chastain in the final scene.
And no, in my opinion, there is no glorification of torture. It’s there, yes, and presented as ‘this is what happens’. I’d say this is the essence of the controversy – not that it’s glorified, but that it’s acknowledged on screen as happening in the first place. Which is more than the American president could do.