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TREE OF LIFE
An emotional blast.
FILM: Terrence Malick isn’t for everyone but if you get him, you will be collecting his movies. He doesn’t make that many, but each one is memorable and this one – perhaps – more than others.
He spends many years on each movie anyway, and The Tree of Life apparently germinated in the 1970s when he was just starting out.
Well, look at the title, it’s all that and more. It’s also one of those that you first want to watch on the big screen and then get the DVD and in your own time and space, sit back and try to absorb and inhale Malick’s view of his world.
It’s gigantic in scope as he recreates the start and the evolution of the universe but in this macroscopic vision, he hones in on a single family and juxta- poses their existence and inter-connectedness with that of the much larger one.
It is a tree of life as he swings us wildly from branch to branch and allows viewers to land where they may.
There are some artists like Malick, late choreographer Pina Bausch and Spanish film-maker Pedro Almodovar who work in similar fashion.
They first punch you in the stomach before they allow your mind to start participating in the process.
It’s heady stuff but just the right time of the year to kick back and invite Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain and Sean Penn among others to tell their particular stories in a way that only Malick can and to manipulate and magically play with your mind so that it lingers.
It’s about the camera, the music and the way the director tells the story. This is breakthrough cinema as he innovates storytelling.
He takes his time and he doesn’t compromise, so expect to do some work while you’re watching.
The rewards keep coming.
SPECIAL FEATURES: No surprise that Malick doesn’t talk about his work, but other directors who have been disciples as well as the actors talk about how he tells stories. – Diane de Beer