Average User Score: 6.7Jan 11, 2012The Tree of Life is a triumph of brash personality & pomposity over craft, subtlety and modesty. I'm not at all against long-winded andThe Tree of Life is a triumph of brash personality & pomposity over craft, subtlety and modesty. I'm not at all against long-winded and non-linear films; one of my all time favourites is Koyaanisqatsi, a film that brilliantly brings together stunning images with fairly haunting but epic musical themes to create an overall feeling of awe. The Tree of Life is trying a similar trick but fails. Miserably. The problem is Malick's desire to imbue the film with some sort of genius insight. Moments that should be stunning instead feel forced and contrived. Rather than letting images speak for themselves, there is a constant metaphor or insight forced in your face which seems laughable. In fact, despite normally being a very restrained and concentrated viewer, myself and my friend found ourselves chuckling quietly on at least 3 occasions. I won't go into details, but the dinosaur scene is potentially the most ridiculous and conceited I have ever viewed. The genius of great directors is to carefully put together a movie that captures the minds of it's audience, whilst carefully sculpting the characters and story in order to provide a certain experience for them, whilst they are pre-occupied elsewhere. The images, though beautiful, do not deserve much attention and so you are left to analyse Malick's composition, which it leaves it horrendously exposed. I felt as embarrassed as if I had just accidentally walked in on a cheating couple. The 2 in the score above is solely for the section following the family. Brad Pitt and his co-stars act this brilliantly and the slow pace, quiet soundtrack and beautiful photography seize you completely. I became so involved in this brief section that every second afterwards was incredibly painful, and like many other reviewers below, sighed in relief every time I mistakenly thought the film had ended.
This section is a fantastic interlude in an otherwise dreadful movie, perfectly summed up when Sean Penn is left kneeling on a beach towards the end. Hideously pompous, briefly brilliant, but ultimately farcical.… Expand