As such, a number of temptations continue to arise when discussing Malick. Foremost among these is the tendency to perpetuate the go-to myths: that the famously media-shy filmmaker is also a recluse, or that he once disappeared from Hollywood for two decades for reasons unknown. Starting with the most basic of biographical details — or lack thereof — it’s easy to see why there are so many misconceptions: there isn’t even a consensus on where the man was born. The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, and The Telegraph all list Malick’s birthplace as Ottawa, Illinois; The New York Times and USA Today cite Waco, Texas as the true site. (That none of these outlets place their own opinion in opposition to anyone else’s is either evidence of their confidence or a suggestion that they aren’t even aware there’s room for debate.) Malick has politely declined every single one of the countless interview requests he’s received since 1975 (by which point he had granted only a few), but mum has rarely, if ever, been the word on him. Critics, academics, and fans alike have made a habit of endlessly speculating about Malick’s habits and whereabouts for the entirety of his now four-decade career; he’s amassed something of a cult following for exhibiting what many would consider perfectly normal behavior and attempting to work in private.
more from Michael Nordine at the LA Review of Books here.