The Better Angels (2014)
Critic Consensus: Malick-inspired but not as inspired as Malick, The Better Angels muffles an interesting idea under ponderous execution.
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Critic Reviews for The Better Angels
It feels more like a poem. Or, at times, a symphony. But it's much less effective as an actual movie.
"God tells truths in parables," someone says - a line that Edwards most likely aspires to take possession of, as if his poetic, pictorial parable had its own truths to tell.
The narrative is gentle and sparse. The beautifully photographed imagery, shot in elegant, deep-focus black-and-white, is exceptional. The music is richly classical.
A gorgeous look at the raw, wooded Indiana of the early 1800s and a dreamy study of the boy Lincoln who was destined to leave it behind.
History, as subject matter, is hard enough to sell as cinema. The Better Angels will not make the struggle any easier.
Had Terrence Malick taken a shot at making a Ken Burns movie, it would probably have turned out better than "The Better Angels," A.J. Edwards's humorless, pretentious black-and-white tone poem about a very young Abe Lincoln.
Audience Reviews for The Better Angels
Edwards doesn't even try to hide the obvious and unoriginal way that he emulates Malick's style, and he seems more concerned with creating a powerful meditative experience than offering any real insight into what shaped Lincoln in his childhood to become the man he would be.
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