Posted by: ckckred | June 4, 2012

And I further discuss The Tree of Life

Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain as Mr. and Mrs. O’Brien

It’s amazing how great The Tree of Life is.  I feel I underrated the movie before, even though I wrote a positive review and named it the fifth best of the year (thinking about it, it should have gotten at least third and perhaps first).  Unlike most films, it’s a movie that’s been growing on me ever since I saw it, and it’s one of the most imaginative films I’ve ever seen.

Terrance Mallick, the director of the film, reminds me of one of the greatest movie directors of all time, Stanley Kubrick.  Like Kubrick, Mallick is very reclusive and doesn’t do interviews.  He also uses some of the most fascinating camera work there is and most notably puts nature in the foreground with the rest of the characters.

For some, it’s a distraction.  For others, it’s one of the best movie techniques ever made.  Mallick uses this in all of his films, but most heavily in The Tree of Life.  About a half hour of the film is devoted to the creation of the universe.  Mallick highlights the cosmos in the sky, and takes the world through its beginnings.

But this isn’t just Mallick showing what he can do with the camera, which is what most think.  He uses this as a meaning for the subject of his film, the O’Brien family.  The tree they plant at the beginning of the film represents their lives as they branch out.

Though The Tree of Life is rate PG-13, it’s the darkest film of the year.  Mallick gives us the look at some chaotic family moments, such as the scene which features Mr. O’Brien and his wife fighting.  In some ways, it’s even more chilling than the violence in Drive.

I’ve heard many complaints about the film, such as how the film lacks a structural narrative.  But The Tree of Life does have a narrative that’s underneath the visual images Mallick has given to the audience.  Once realized, the movie never loses its pace.  It’s one of the boldest movies ever made and crafted very well.  I’ve always been a fan of Mallick’s work, and with this film he has become one of my favorite directors of all time.


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