Voyage of Time: Life’s Journey
Dir. Terrence Malick. 2016, 90 mins. DCP. Narrated by Cate Blanchett.The culmination of years of filming and decades of preparation, Terrence Malick’s first work of nonfiction attempts to cinematically represent nothing less than the history of existence. From the big bang to suburban sprawl, from the evolution of the species to the devolution of the recorded image, and featuring images both captured and fabricated, Voyage of Time does not lack for ambition. More widely presented in a shorter IMAX version, this feature-length version better resembles Malick’s later works, featuring evocative narration by Cate Blanchett whose voice seems to come from both on high and from within, i.e. everywhere at once. Simultaneously more ambitious than any previous science or nature-oriented documentary—already a grand, macrocosmic genre—yet atypically humble and unstable, with Blanchett’s words often complicating physical evidence with subjective perception and irresolute emotion. It hasn’t the fictional narrative elements of Malick’s 生命之树, to which this film was apparently once considered a companion, though it remains a spiritually close sibling.