Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Tree of Life (Or, The Movie That Could Have Been Great)

I'm not really sure what I just watched, but it was kind of pretty.
The Tree of Life is an overly ambitious venture into uncharted territory. Director Terrence Mallick tries to tackle the big subjects of death, life, beginnings, ends, nature, and grace with subtlety and beauty, but ends up feeling pretentious and becomes too abstract to make any sense.
I turned the movie off about half way through, simply because nothing was making any sense. I was bored and honestly, watching had become a chore.
The cinematography is stunning, and the score is quite stirring, and the acting is adequate (Jessica Chastain is particularly good here). But there is literally no narrative in the tree of life. None. I tried to be open to the movie, but The Tree of Life definitely would've benefitted from some actual story telling. It's very stream of consciousness story telling, but it doesn't work in this instance. I really needed some sense of direction in such an abstract movie.
I respect what The Tree of Life was trying to do, but it falls short of it's huge goals. There's a reason this movie hasn't been made before,  and that is because all of the things the film tries to cover are just too big for 2 and a half hours. It was a valiant effort though.
In conclusion:


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