THE BETTER ANGELS, because the release led off with the name Terrence Malick, I assumed this was the newest work from this lately-given-to-undue-rapture filmmaker (I try not to read much of a press release prior to viewing the movie, due to sometimes learning a little more than I would like to know about the film). So, there I sat during the entire screening, thinking to myself, "Well, so he's finally working in black-and-white, and doing a beautiful job of it, too!" "Hmmmm... He's still afraid of too much dialog, so consequently gives us too little." "But at least his lead character isn't dancing around like someone whose next stop is the loony bin!"
A.J. Edwards, shown at right, who is on the face of what I'd just seen, clearly a Malick disciple (Mr. Malick was one of several of the film's producers, however, so the marketing department clearly knew what famous name to bandy about.)
Braydon Denney, shown above and at bottom) somewhere around the age of eight. Gosh, who knew that Abe was such a beautiful child? Or so short?
Brit Marling, below) and dad (Jason Clarke, above), though mom soon makes a major departure. All we really learn about her is that "She knew so much of what she believed was yonder. Always yonder." Or, to put it more bluntly: She had religious faith in what she couldn't know, or see, or understand, and this was more important to her than anything in the here and now.
Diane Kruger, below) to which he, his dad, and the film seem much more devoted. (One of the movie's better scenes involves Abe and a vision of his two moms.) Given Edwards' love of lingering shots of most everything and everyone (Wes Bentley, two photos below, plays a bearded, taciturn schoolmaster who spots Abe's possibilities and tries to point these out to the kid's dad), a certain stodgy pace begins to set in.
Amplify Releasing, the film opened this past Friday, November 7, in New York at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema and in Los Angeles at Landmark's NuArt. Overt the coming weeks it will open throughout the country. To view all currently scheduled playdates, cities and theaters, click here and then scroll down.