budgie.. it must be a guy thing.
like most great movies i know, it's all about the last 20mins.. in this case the sean penn final moments about "never leaving this room" or whatever, and the dude looking back at the island and asking his soul to let him be inside it.
another great highlight is all the lines up to and including "Have you passed through this night?". and the whole nature-law thing through the movie. this was the first and only time where i was overwhelmed by the immediacy of impending mortality, and i freaked out. jim caviezel is ekzellent also, in his embodiment of christ-consciousness. and it's great how malick shifted the focus of the story to him instead of Fife (adrien brody).
You know, I think you're right: it might be a (certain type of) guy thing. It is quintessentially Male Romantic, and that's what bugged me, tho normally I go for that (dunno, maybe I've changed). The nature-law thing, as you call it, is just such a tired philosophy to me. I can see its appeal, tho, and the use of the setting did stir me. I also realise that we're looking through the eyes of various white western idealists, and normally too that would appeal, because in some ways it was a critique of that romanticism. But I didn't find anything to challenge it ultimately, it felt reaffirmed. That is a problem for me, but only because I want to strip it away and expose it I guess. But OK, at 19 years old I loved those ideals (so maybe it isn't only a guy thing, even if it's at the root of the culture). Maybe I wasn't listening attentively enough to this movie, I can't be sure.
The tone didn't help with that though. The self-conscious poeticism and the naff narration. I had trouble not seeing through it all, like I had trouble not seeing through the mannered performances, the types and yes, the religiosity. I think this was because it had no relief (except in Penn, and maybe I'd have liked it more with more emphasis laid on his relationship with Caviezel). I just kept thinking 'oh, lighten up', and it made me laugh.
Thanks, that's enlightening. I did like the first scenes in the grass too, by the way. I think this all has a bearing on your like/my disregard for Kubrick also. The same aestheticization of pain and, as you say, mortality. We're just feeling it in different styles.
As for sweaty men... well, see, this is the same thing. Looking at naked sweaty men indiscriminately has no effect whatever. It's all about the context. If the style and philosophy is all wrong, I remain unmoved. Maybe that's just a girl thing. Or a budgie thing.