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Image from new Terrence Malick movie hints at his 'Blue Valentine' moment

February 24, 2011 | 12:18 pm

Watts

Even as we're finally starting to know just a little bit more about Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life," the clues are starting to dribble out for the reclusive auteur's follow-up movie, which he began shooting in the fall and whose release hopefully won't require a decade-long Malickian wait.

The untitled film stars Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Rachel Weisz and Olga Kurylenko. (Affleck replaced Christian Bale, so no Micky Ward/Batman here). Film Nation, the company that sold rights to the project and helped finance it, has just released the above photo, after offering last year that the movie is a "romantic drama" and a "powerful and moving love story."

The image doesn't contradict that description, though it doesn't exactly provide more detail either. It does suggest tortured romance a la "Blue Valentine" (Malick has tackled relationships before, though usually of the more twisted variety, like Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek in "Badlands") and plenty of anguish. In that way, at least, it feels a little like a companion piece to "Tree of Life," whose trailer conveys more than a small dose of existential despair.

There's also an open-plains feel to the photo, a longtime Malick preoccupation and something undoubtedly present in "Tree of Life."

In addition to raising the usual comparisons (and unanswerable questions) for Malick, the image evokes Affleck in a leading-man romantic role, something he tried again for the first time in a while with this past fall's "The Town." As for McAdams, the image reminds that she's done the tortured romance back in 2009, though here's hoping Affleck doesn't do much time-traveling.

--Steven Zeitchik

twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams in the untitled Terrence Malick film. Credit: Film Nation

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