Monday, 11 March 2013

film reviews: to the wonder and lore

I've already fallen a little off track in terms of updating. In my defence I've been having a slow reading month as my uni work starts to pile up but that's a poor excuse really! Not having any books to review I thought I'd shamelessly recycle some graphics I made for Tumblr and showcase the two prettiest movies that I've seen this year...

To The Wonder (2012)
Director: Terence Malick
Starring: Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Javier Bardem, Rachel McAdams
Genre: Drama/Romance
Rating: 8/10

After visiting Mont Saint-Michel, Marina and Neil come to Oklahoma, where problems arise. Marina meets a priest and fellow exile, who is struggling with his vocation, while Neil renews his ties with a childhood friend, Jane.


It's a Terrence Malick movie so To the Wonder was guaranteed to be gorgeous. On leaving the cinema, one of the women who had been sat behind me complained, "I was just waiting for something to happen and then I was just waiting for it to be over.” My eyes could not have rolled harder if I'd tried! I'm becoming such a movie snob! I think a lot of people felt the same way but you know, it’s a Terrence Malick movie! Aesthetics and atmosphere always trump action! Anyway, I enjoyed it - it didn’t hit me in the same way that The Tree of Life did but the cinematography and music were beautiful and there were a couple of really wonderful sequences. I really adore how Malick uses natural light to both 'ground' abstract sequences and add an ethereal quality to scenes which would otherwise be banal. If extreme naval gazing isn't for you I'd give it a miss but if you love cinema as much for the aesthetic experience as the plot then it's definitely worth a watch.

Lore (2012)
Director: Cate Shortland
Starring: Saskia Rosendahl, Kai-Peter Malina, Nele Trebs
Genre: Drama/War/Foreign Language
Rating: 9/10

As the Allies sweep across Germany, Lore leads her siblings on a journey that exposes them to the truth of their parents' beliefs. An encounter with a mysterious refugee forces Lore to rely on a person she has always been taught to hate.


I have so many thoughts and feelings about this film but struggle to articulate them - the subject matter is so serious and the film itself so carefully done that my usual flailing doesn't seem appropriate. Simply put, this is the story of the physical and personal journey of a teenager and her siblings, the children of high ranking Nazis, across Germany in the aftermath of the Second World War. As a history student and a fan of 'children of war' narratives I was predisposed to like Lore but it far exceeded my expectations. There are obvious comparisons to be made to traditional European folk stories (children struggling through the wilderness to reach Grandma's house) and the story itself is very weighty (themes include atrocities of war including the Holocaust, parental betrayal, abandonment, destitution etc.) but the film never drifts into hysteria or sentimentality. Throughout it all Lore's humanity is at stake and Saskia Rosendahl's performance is incredible. The film is beyond beautiful. The use of colour is excellent - it's a film about the end of war which eschews the patriotic reds and blues and instead revels in greens, purples and browns. The visual representations of the elements are particularly stunning as the German countryside becomes both a refuge and a terrifying wilderness to the young siblings and their companion. Lore is a really masterful piece of filmmaking that I very strongly recommend!

No comments:

Post a Comment