Since the single official still of Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams nuzzling in front of a gorgeous vista hit the web, it was always assumed Terrence Malick's latest film, “To the Wonder,” would expand on the themes of love and relationships present in both “Badlands” and “The Tree of Life.” However, as details on Javier Bardem's priest character revealed earlier this week hinted at a more prominent element of faith, today a figure involved in bringing the film to the festival world has added another subject the film will tackle.
Making its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, “To the Wonder” will first screen at the Venice Film Festival at the end of August, and in a recent interview, Venice festival director Alberto Barbera shared an intriguing insight into a focus of the film. "The main recurring theme is the crisis," he told reporters in Rome. "The economic crisis, which is having devastating social effects, but also the crisis of values, the political crisis.” The film's plot certainly mirrors this statement, as it follows Affleck's character, Neil, returning to Oklahoma from Europe infatuated with Marina (played by Olga Kurylenko), where he then marries her for love and perhaps some visa troubles as well. Once problems in their relationship start to show, Neil finds comfort in a childhood friend (McAdams) and a religious exile (Bardem), which allows a number of growing difficulties in both his romantic and spiritual lives to bubble up.
If the financial aspect of Barbera's comment seems so jarring, that may be because Malick has always rather shied away from the subject before, only growing more prominent in recent years with Brad Pitt's struggle to keep his family afloat in “The Tree of Life.” Prior to that, while his characters have always existed in environments that require financial upkeep, Malick has traditionally shown an little interest in exploring those depths head on. Still, just as his supporting cast of Rachel Weisz, Barry Pepper, Amanda Peet and Michael Sheen have yet to be revealed in their roles, expect the economic element to be just one of many threads that Malick's compelling film will handle, unless Steven Soderbergh has particularly influenced the director as of late. [AFP]