Malick, Ranked

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


About Kamran Ahmed

I have a Masters in Cinema Studies from the University of Toronto. I work as a freelance writer and film critic in Vancouver. My writing is primarily distributed through Next Projection, an online film journal based in Toronto.
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