Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Review - The Tree Of Life (2011)

Starring Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain and Sean Penn.
Directed by Terrence Malick.

The Tree of Life is the only nominee from the 2012 Oscar Best Picture pool that I hadn't seen up until this day. My fellow movie lovers warned me about this film but for some reason that drew me even closer to it and I was curious to experience and see what this movie was about.

Okay so the movie begins with Mr and Mrs. O'Brien (Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain) learning about the death of their son. Then the movie shifts to a grown man (Sean Penn) who turns to be the O'Brien's eldest son, Jack. We see him talking on the phone to his father and apologizing about the death of his brother. Then the movie just shifts into absolute weirdness where we see a sudden burst of beautiful and breathtaking imagery and visuals. So weird, so over the top but yet so encaptivating. What I gathered from this sudden burst of beautiful visuals was the "birth of life". We see the universe being formed, life on Earth being formed, even dinosaurs being present and then we see a comet crash into Earth (like what happened in our history books). Then the beautiful visuals come to an end and the movie now shifts to a young Mr and Mrs. O'Brien with their newborn sons, one which is Jack.

So apparently most of this film happened in a flashback. Whose flashback? A grown Jack's. Before the burst of beautiful visuals, a grown Jack went into reflecting mode after hearing the death of his brother and I guess he started to reflect on his life when he was young with his two brothers and parents. The next TWO hours of the movie is basically about a young Jack's relationship with his two brothers, his controlling father, his seemingly loving mother and associates. However this movie went nowhere. There was no plot to begin with and to make matters worse, the film's length made it feel soooooo drawn out. We get some character study of Mr. O'Brien and Jack but in all honesty, what was the point if there aren't any developments with the story? Not to mention the limited dialogue did not help. Just when you thought you'd see some story or plot developing, this movie just resorts back to lone boring interactions. For the whole time we're there with Jack and his family, it just felt like I was watching the same thing over and over and over.

Let's talk about the creepy whispering throughout the film from the characters which is supposedly "narrating". I could barely hear what they were saying so that further added to the miserable experience of watching The Tree of Life. The only thing worth talking about is this film's beautiful visuals. In the first scene, I believe director Terrence Malick used that visual outburst with a meaning to show us the "beginning" of things, which I believe is associated with Jack's flashback to the "beginning" of his life. I think that part of the movie was handled well but afterwards this film became too slow, uninteresting and lacked any true purpose.

Yeah so The Tree Of The Life boasts beautiful cinematography and visuals but the O'Brien family was really not that interesting for 2+ hours.

Rating: 4/10

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