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Plot for Terrence Malick’s Ben Affleck-Starring Film Confirmed

Posted by , on November 2, 2011 at 11:51 am 

Terrence Malick has gone years, even decades, without putting his name in the news, but 2011 has been full of the enigmatic director. It would be enough if we only got The Tree of Life this calendar year, but stories surrounding that film are then followed by some cryptic update on his next, Ben Affleck-starring film, tentatively called The Burial. And then there was this Voyage of Time documentary; three films hitting within a few years of each other is absolutely unprecedented for him. But now we’re hearing of two more projects, both of which will star Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett, with Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, and Isabel Lucas among one or the other.

It can be rather overwhelming, so we’ll just focus on his next right now. With that said, 24Frames has managed to snag a description of the plot and some other details central to The Burial. They basically confirm what we heard last November: This is “a love triangle with an international subtext,” and also the first modern-day film of his — not counting about half of Sean Penn‘s Tree of Life segments, that is.

You can read a plot outline below:

“[I]t concerns a philanderer (Affleck) who, feeling at loose ends, travels to Paris, where he enters a hot-and-heavy affair with a European woman (Olga Kurylenko). Said Lothario returns home to Oklahoma, where he marries the European woman (in part for visa reasons). When the relationship founders, he rekindles a romance with a hometown girl (Rachel McAdams) with whom he’s had a long history.”

If that sounds un-Malick to you, remember that essentially any of his films could be summed up with a rather conventional plot synopsis. The filmmaking should at least be in line with his past work, as footage reactions classified it as more experimental than Tree. But it it might still differ in more than just period setting; the person who read the script said that it had “a bit of a happier ending than some other Malick movies.” (Personally, however, I find The Tree of Life‘s ending to be incredibly positive and uplifting.)

I’m very much interested in what semblance of a conventional story we’ll get in Burial, yet a part of me still feels funny about speculating over any details of this sort. See, what I mainly care about is a preservation of Malick‘s unconventional and hypnotic style, and if we’ve already heard that it contains this, then a description of the story might not even matter. Would (or could) you try and sum up Days of Heaven with a Netlix sleeve description?

The main cast also includes Javier Bardem (who, as the story says, is playing a Priest offering advice to Affleck), Rachel Weisz, Barry Pepper, and Jessica Chastain. A release for next year is being discussed rather heavily, but no one has bought it and it’s reported Malick has “declined to sell it.” Please, man — if this thing is done, let us see it immediately. His films are almost always worth the wait, but a gap of at least six years isn’t easy to take.

What do these new plot details say to you? Are you also unconcerned with what exactly the film’s story entails?


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