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Here's what Terrence Malick's next movie is about, as if one can ever really put such things into words

Yesterday we gazed meditatively on the startling vastness of Terrence Malick’s upcoming development slate, lost in the childlike wonder of formless knowledge as we contemplated the size and scope of his works without being aware of the minutiae, the way one would witness a babbling brook without comprehending how its tiny rivulets randomly snake away to bathe and sustain humming insects whose own worldview is similarly narrow. But today there are whispered truths to break the stillness, as the L.A. Times shares some details from Malick’s upcoming film with Ben Affleck that was previously titled The Burial, and is now as free from limiting names as the billions of stars outside of our human sight. The film—which should be Malick’s next release after the IMAX documentary Voyage Of Time, and before the just-confirmed Lawless and Knight Of Cups—is already completed, meaning its essence is now capable of being defined and thus confined.

The truth: It’s a love triangle with “an international subtext” set entirely in the modern day (a first for Malick), and stars Affleck as a womanizer who has an affair with a woman in Paris (played by Olga Kurylenko) before bringing her home to Oklahoma and marrying her. After their relationship begins to fall apart, he then rekindles a romance with a former flame in his hometown played by Rachel McAdams. Somewhere in there Javier Bardem turns up as a priest who gives Affleck advice, and then, believe it or not, somehow the whole thing winds up in a happy place—or a happier place than most of Malick’s films. Throughout there’s “the trademark visual showiness—shots of Affleck and McAdams in Malick's trademark man-in-nature style,” which probably goes without saying.

Of course, as always with Malick, these things are all subject to change as he continues to tweak it in the editing room, but with the understanding that he’ll probably need to wrap it up soon if he really wants to get moving on Lawless and Knight Of Cups next year. While the details of those films have also remained a mystery, we can now exclusively reveal that they are two sequential chapters of a story about a retired stock racer who teams up with a rambunctious group of orphans to win the Coca-Cola 500. Or wait, that’s Kenny Rogers’ Six Pack. Most likely, they won’t be anything like that, but who can pretend to know?

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