Monday, 10 October 2016

LFF 2016 REVIEW - VOYAGE OF TIME: LIFE'S JOURNEY (TERRENCE MALICK)


The most specific movie yet from Terrence Malick, yet also the most universal. More than ever before, Voyage of Time: Life's Journey demands of its audience that it submits itself to the lulling vagaries of Malick's wandering thoughts, given form by this collage of stunning material in a baffling arrangement. The film intends to evoke pure emotions, those which make this filmmaker a most sensational fit for this medium - awe, fear, wonder, passion. It's a macro film with macro concerns, and micro ones too, the two unified in a marvellous artistic display. Malick binds vast, terrifying notions to more intimate, ephemeral concerns, marrying the nature of existence to the ways in which we choose to exploit it; grainy camcorder footage of various scenes of cultural expression and more harrowing content send a message that doesn't especially enrich Voyage of Time, and they pale in comparison to the visual majesty of the film's main body. Less focus than devotion is required to properly absorb the philosophical and sensorial detail amid these breathtaking images, and narration supplied by Cate Blanchett - solemn exclamations of confusion and despair. Just as it took Malick many years to bring Voyage of Time together, one considers that perhaps it may take as long to appreciate what value there is in this cumbersome text, although it is employed beautifully in the film's enticing opening. And much as we're navigating the fundaments of life, so too are Malick's verbal expressions reduced to their most basic form, all the better to settle oneself into the gloriously expansive yet inclusive, even personal inquiries made herein. Its missteps and mistakes are more pronounced than in other recent works by this legendary cinematic figure, but he continues to solidify that legend with some of the most entrancing cinema ever made.