This evening I caught “The Tree of Life” by Terrance Malick (Writer and Director). I had heard many things about this movie so I had to see it for myself. Terrance Malick is consider by many to be one of the very best directors of our time, strangely, he only makes a movie about once every 10 years. Here are my notes:
– Although this is a motion picture, I did not consider this to be entertainment. It is more of an exploration of life and faith.
– Terrance Malick absolutely doesn’t care what his audience thinks, he is going to do it the way he wants, at all costs. Not saying this is a bad thing, it isn’t only as long as the artist is talented. Terrence Malick is extremely talented.
– The first part is painfully boring. About half of the audience left before it was halfway through. It took everything I had for me to stay put. If you can actually make it through the “creation period”, you will be rewarded. Most audience members will not have the patience for it.
– It is one of the most visually stunning movies I have ever seen. Nearly every single shot is beautiful and thoughtfully composed, just look at the poster made up of still shots. I cannot remember seeing this in any other movie as I have in Tree of Life.
– To me the film was about a man challenging and questioning his relationship with God as well as his father.
– It is very non-linear and thus very hard to keep track of what is going on.
– It is loaded with symbolism, the imagery of roots, blood vessels, tree stems, leaves appear repeatedly.
– The first 1/3 has some real “what in the world were they thinking” moments. Soup Creation Theory. Membrane and Cell Creation, RNAs, bacteria, cells…..and Veloceraptor not killing easy prey? Sure felt out of place. Im also sure there is a meaning to it, but I cannot figure it out.
– Many parts felt like 2001 a Space Odyssey
– The last half of the movie is pretty interesting. I was amazed by how many childhood feelings it recreated for me. Discovering life for the first time. Playing with my brothers, getting in trouble. Some of the scenes were right out of my childhood (BB gun scene) Kinda brought all that back. I was impressed with how emotionally engaging it was.
To sum it up, I wouldn’t recommend watching it in theaters, that first 1/3 was really hard to get through. I felt like I was a 12 year old being forced to sit through a really boring church meeting.
If you are the artsy type, you are going to want to rent it and fast forward through the creation stuff.
If you aren’t into movies that require a lot of patience, you are probably going to want to skip it.