As per the newest edition of the Must See list, a slew of new films from 2011 have made it into our coveted book. This review, I called early, having wrote it way back in the months of the previous winter, when I was all but certain this film would make the list. Winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes, Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life is a revelation, that is, for those who are able to sit through such a unique film. What I mean is, this isn’t really a traditional narrative film; it’s an experiential thesis, an artistic statement on the nature of life and family.
You gotta love the camerawork in this film, and really in all of Malick’s films; always moving, always flowing, like water upon a canvas. Malick doesn’t linger on a shot like so many other films I could name unless it’s for a particular reason. He is concise, he makes his point with his shots and then moves right along to whatever’s next. Brad Pitt gives probably the best performance I’ve seen from him in a long, long while. I’ve never been a fan of Pitt, but I have to say, he does a remarkable job here, as does Jessica Chastain as his wife, and the children actors as well. The storytelling might be a bit disjointed, but if you haven’t come to expect that from a Malick film by this point, you might be better off staying away from his films.
This is a truly unique experience in film, but like I said, do not go into this expecting a straightforward narrative film. I can only recommend this to those who prepare themselves for such a different type of film. But once you do, you will love the wonderment and drama that Malick delivers with this magnum opus. He creates another world entirely, that we occupy for a short (sorta) while; it is this enveloping and immersive nature that certain movies have that reignites my passion and love for this field of art, and Malick can usually do that to me – I firmly believe this to be his best work to date, and wish only that everyone would be as receptive to this type of film (and this film in particular) as I am.
Arbitrary Rating: 10/10