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:: The Tree Of Life

Over the years, director, Terrence Malick has made brilliant films like Badlands and The Thin Red Line whoever those who backed him financially for The Tree Of Life have given him a little too much space to play in. Malick tries to be experimental with this film (and experimental filmmaking can be sensational), however Malick pushes it too far and The Tree Of Life becomes some scattered that you feel the only person who truly understands what the film is about is Malick himself.

The core of the film’s story is that we see the older version of Jack (Sean Penn) unable to fully cope with life because of the fact that he never felt accepted by his father, Mr. O’Brien (Brad Pitt). In flashbacks we see what life was like for young Jack (Hunter McCracken), his two brothers, R.L. (Laramie Eppler), Steve (Tye Sheridan) and their mother (Jessica Chastain) as they try to live a typical suburban lifestyle.

The real pity about The Tree Of Life ending up such a mess is that the flashback parts of the movie work exceptionally well and you do end up caring for the family. However, the scenes with Penn as the older Jack completely jar and it is impossible to get a real feel for what his character is going through. Then there are the weird interludes that Malick brings into the film about ‘the centre of life’. Scenes such as the ones of the dinosaurs and volcanoes may look sensational but make absolutely no sense and end up making Malick look like an amateur filmmaker who has just discovered the screensaver files on his editing computer. It is easy to imagine some cinema goers walking out during these scenes, as they serve no purpose and just distract from the film completely.

The only shining light that comes out of The Tree Of Life is Brad Pitt who once again reminds audiences that he isn’t just a pretty face. His scenes are the highlight of the film and he seems to have captured the role of Mr. O’Brien to a tee. Pitt is one of the few actors in this film that doesn’t need dialogue to be able to act and while the film is terrible you could easily see Pitt earning an Oscar nomination for his performance… that is if the judges haven’t walked out of the cinema by the time his acting kicks in.

Unfortunately, The Tree Of Life is a film that just simply won’t connect with audiences of any country. Malick tries to be experimental but just comes across looking like a complete wanker who wants to blow a raspberry at cinema goers. One to avoid unless you want to torture yourself. The two stars are simply for Pitt’s performance.