Terrence Malick is an American filmmaker who has only made eight films over the course of a forty-year career. And each one of those has been hailed as a masterpiece.He made his debut in 1973 with Badlands, about teenagers on a cross-country killing spree. He followed that up in 1978 with Days of Heaven, an evocative, dream-like portrait of a wheat farm in the early 20th century America.He then took a twenty-year break from the film industry, spending a great deal of time in Paris and traveling. During that time he was rumored to have projects in the works, but nothing materialized until the late 1990s when he went into production on The Thin Red Line, an adaptation of James Jones's novel about the battle of Guadalcanal. Critics and audiences didn't know quite what to make of it when it was released (it didn't help that it was released the same time as the more mainstream Saving Private Ryan), but it was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including two for Malick, as Best Director and for his screenplay.For a while it looked as if Malick might be going back into hibernation, but he returned in 2005 with The New World, a portrait of John Smith and Pocahontas. Like The Thin Red Line before it, The New World baffled audiences and critics when it was initially released, but was since acclaimed by critics as one of the best films of the 2000s.Six years later, Malick released his fifth film, The Tree of Life, a film about three boys growing up in 1950s Texas, which featured a much-discussed sequence involving the creation of the universe. It was met with critical acclaim on its release, and won the Palme D'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.In 2012, Malick released To The Wonder, a film about a couple who visit Oklahoma. The film was met with cheers and boos at the Venice Film Festival, although later reviews have been more positive.
- Badlands (1973)
- Days of Heaven (1978)
- The Thin Red Line (1998)
- The New World (2005)
- The Tree of Life (2011)
- To The Wonder (2012)
- Knight Of Cups (2015)
- Voyage Of Time (2016)
- Song to Song (2017)
Tropes that describe Malick and his films:
- Blade-of-Grass Cut: Pretty common throughout all of his films.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Malick has a wildly unconventional approach to filmmaking that pays dividends. Thomas Lennon's experience working on Knight of Cups is recounted in this article.Lennon: "Is this how it goes?"
Lennon: "Every day?"
Lennon: "How long have you been doing this?"
Bale: "This is, like, day 25."
- Fauxlosophic Narration: For lack of a better term. Many of Malick's films involve voiceover narration only vaguely related to what's going on onscreen, usually reflecting on the overall themes of the film. YMMV on whether this works or not.
- Scenery Porn: Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line, and The New World were all nominated for Cinematography Oscars for a reason. The Tree of Life took this Up to Eleven, earning wild praise even from people who otherwise vehemently hated the film.