Very very predictable, including the post credit scene !!!
One hour and a half of nothing
The acting is good, and the firecracker script has some excellent ideas.
One of the most extraordinary films you will see this year. Take that as you want.
This is Terence Mallick's magnus opus in my opinion- and yes, I am aware of the fact that this is Malick I speak of, a man who has made some masterpieces. Tree of Life encompasses everything- from the search of purpose and meaning to the beginning and end of time itself. Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain and the kids all are more than competent and would have jumped at the chance of working with a master. Beautifully shot as only Malick can(the camera flows so smoothly) and containing what I consider one of the most important sequences(beginning of time) ever put on film The Tree of Life is a work of art.
"Where were you when I laid the foundations of the Earth, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" Job 38:4, 7 This is how Terrence Malick begins The Tree of Life. This may seem like a somewhat ordinary occurrence, but for those who haven't seen his films, he is also the director of Badlands, Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line, and most recently Knight of Cups. He is a philosopher who disregards conventionality in favor of non-linear, visual storytelling infused with natural light and beautiful nature. And The Tree of Life probably is the most evident example. At its most base form, this film chronicles the beginning of the cosmos up to the 50s era of a Texan family with 3 boys (one is Mud star Tye Sheridan) led patriarchally with Brad Pitt and a quiet, loving Jessica Chastain. So far so good, I guess. Also throw in Sean Penn as the future adult of one of the kids, and already you can tell how the non-linearness will unfold. But you can't tell. The first 10 minutes are a grieving mother, the next 10 are of a contemplative and questioning Penn, then you get about 45 minutes that literally goes from the beginning to present day with a couple of dinosaurs mixed in. And it's not there for eye-candy, but it all means something-- this includes all the shots of trees and the metaphors represented (similar to some of the graduation speeches I listened to yesterday). And I truly believe none of this works without Emmanuel Lubezki. Wait, who? Lubezki is probably the best cinematographer, at least of this generation, and is responsible for being director of photography for Gravity, Birdman, Children of Men, and my darling The Revenant. All I can say is this film is beautiful. Is it worth watching? Well I think everyone should see at least one Malick film, and Days of Heaven is a good choice, but this film is better along with The Thin Red Line which I would argue is the equal to Saving Private Ryan for war films. With that said, dialogue is sparse and this can be frightening. But what it is is one of the greatest stories told, er rather watched, and right up there with Boyhood on the depiction of boyhood. There is so much I understood and learned and awed at, and there's definitely even more for me to understand and connect with. You will not want to see the film again the following week after watching because of the hidden details you missed on the first viewing; no, you'll be thinking and thinking and in a year or two will absolutely have the urge to rewatch it. Words don't describe this film. Neither does dialogue. You watch and feel the love, the sternness, the intertwining emotions of the family. There isn't trivia to learn and gain by watching, but there is knowledge to gain and perspective to behold. I'm not saying you will love it, but you will come away with something old, something new; memories of your life and an appreciation of the known and unknown.
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The most pretentious movie ever made.
Seriously, what in the heck was the director thinking. The film is nearly two and a half hours long but hardly has even 15 minutes of content. I was laughing at the screen multiple times for all the wrong reasons. I feel bad for whoever paid money to watch this, let alone anyone who watched the entire film in one setting. It took me three days to finish it - almost a fourth but I powered on through with freeing up DVR space as a motivator.
I believe that the brilliance of The Tree of Life can be even better appreciated after watching Malick's next three films. Those prove that by having characters express their internal feelings with whispers as voice-over narration over beautiful cinematography, doesn't necessarily make a great movie. There's other filmmakers inspired by Malick's Thin Red Line and Tree of Life also doing likewise. Though, no film pulls off all the Malick ingredients as well as The Tree of Life.I read that Malick has spent many years preparing this film and that might be the difference between the Tree of Life and his following films which came in quick succession. I've heard many complaints about the Tree of Life from Malick fans, and those the viewers I was mostly concerned about... not about Hollywood viewers who can't stand deep cinema anyway.The typical problem critics have is that this film doesn't fit into their world view. It's clearly religious in nature and many viewers feel that placing theism with evolution is a contradiction. Though, that isn't necessarily true. I won't get into the religious aspects of this film because I'm testing the art and not religion.Let's just give one example. I mostly hear Malick fans laugh at the dinosaur scene. To me it's clear that Malick was referencing 2001 A Space Odyssey the way Kubrick used apes... but now he's using dinosaurs to make his own point with the brothers in the story of Tree of Life. It's about how aggression moves you ahead in the food chain vs. the meek, which on the surface is the opposite of what the Bible says to progress. But, what kind of progress are we talking about here? Spirituality isn't about material progress, not even just about life on earth. It is obvious that Malick gives you a big clue at the very beginning of his film by taking a quote from Job's story in the Bible. Despite this, many critics feel there's no place for the scenes representing the creation of the universe and life. However this is exactly what Job is about in the Bible. Job is frustrated and struggles with the pain he experiences and this is when God expresses poetic verses, giving him a grand perspective of life in context of eternity. This is clearly what Malick does in Tree of Life when the mother is particularly struggling with the unexpected death of her young son. The first hour or so of this film is maybe the highest standard of cinema I've seen in a long time. The rest of the film doesn't disappoint me, but it does make it difficult for other viewers who didn't like to watch how the father dominates his family aggressively. But, if you can get through those moments easily, the father is later admitting how ''stupid'' and weak he was in the past. This for me was a very moving scene and shows how even those you write off have time to grow. This movie mostly does it for me due to the beautiful cinematography and the classical music soundtrack that perfectly goes along with the poetic insight. Malick is clearly inspired by Tarkovsky, and while many other directors were also influenced by him, this is the closest anyone has come. Tree of Life is typically similar to Mirror and while English audiences might find Malick difficult to watch, the Russian film Mirror (Zerkalo) is even more challenging.