Definitely one of the finest director’s of our time, especially regarding cinematography and scope. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Malick; while I’ve always loved his use of the formal aspects of cinema, creating majestic land-pieces out of grandiose images of nature and the like, I have, at times, strongly disliked his narratives, characters, and what motivates them. I often find myself thinking that the plot/story is not grand enough to fit in the poetic world Malick creates.
The only two films where I believe his narratives reach that kind of level is The Thin Red Line and The Tree Of Life. In the others, I felt like the stories were too trivial to belong with the brilliant cinematography, and have felt like that has brought down my love for the films; this includes Badlands, Days of Heaven, and, especially, The New World.
I believe that Malick is best suited for grand and ambitious projects, where the immensity of the landscapes may be matched with immense emotional depth. I just didn’t feel anything for any of the characters in Badlands, Days, or New World.
The Tree Of Life
The Thin Red Line
Days Of Heaven
The New World