I have not had any interest in the work of Terrence Malick over the years. His films tend toward nature and beautifully composed shots that seem much too still for my tastes. I like things that move in sloppier fashion than Malick is willing to show. For instance, the clip shown here makes me want to go see ‘The Tree of Life’ because is looks magnificently gorgeous and might in fact tend toward the non-narrative end of the spectrum. However, look at those ‘hand-held’ shots. Like almost every Hollywood movie, Malick’s hand-held shots look as though they are calculated, calibrated and buffered by sophisticated computer programs designed to give just the right sense of hand-held without being too hand-held. Hand-held on hydro-greased pistons with balancing weights and counter movement devices. Look at how, when he shows the kid’s feet kicking the can on the street, he tilts the horizon line just so. Fussy. Trying to make an interesting shot out of nothing. There’s something too smooth going on with the camera person. Malick needs to punch the camera operator in the mouth just before a shot. I don’t think great film directors can work with the standard kit Hollywood film crew… ever. Everything in this clip moves with a limp swaying quality. Maybe that’s why I sleep through Malick films.
If it were up to me, I’d tell Malick to remake this film with no more than five people helping him aside from the actors.