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    January 31, 2012

    OSCAR MOVIE REVIEW: THE TREE OF LIFE

    THE TREE OF LIFE (N/A)

    Genre: Drama/Science Fiction/Fantasy
    Release Date: Not released
    Running Time: 138 minutes
    Distributor: Fox Searchlight
    Director: Terrence Malick
    Screenplay: Terrence Malick
    Starring: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain, Hunter McCracken, Fiona Shaw

    Plot: From Terrence Malick, the acclaimed director of such classic films as Badlands, Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line, The Tree of Life is the impressionistic story of a Midwestern family in the 1950's. The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father (Brad Pitt). Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn) finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith. Through Malick's signature imagery, we see how both brute nature and spiritual grace shape not only our lives as individuals and families, but all life. REVIEWS AFTER THE JUMP

    Review: ‘The Tree of Life’ marks the return of director Terrence Malick after a hiatus of 6 years with his last effort was ‘The New World’ which has some abstract similarities with this one. The reclusive director presented one of the weirdest movies in the recent memory not only because of the way it is put through but also the way it tries to interact with the audience. Despite of all, it deemed enough for this movie to win the coveted Palme d’Or award (Best Picture) at the 64th Cannes Film Festival. The strangeness shredding ‘The Tree of Life’ is further fueled due to its hyphen excitement and anticipation. What is the end result nevertheless? Shrouding linen of lifeless boring story arch or a pure art of bedazzlement?


    ‘The Tree of Life’ explores the journey of a Western family during the 50s from the perspective of the father (Brad Pitt), the mother (Jessica Chastain) and their three sons. The eldest son, Jack, recounted backward about his innocence early childhood as he journey towards a rebellious adolescent period to a successful adult years (played by Sean Penn) as an architect. Jack tries to reconcile with his estranged father and at the same time rediscover the meaning of origins, faith and the existence of life as a whole.

    Whether it is shrouded with linen of lifeless boring story arch or a pure art of bedazzlement, it all matters that the end game is a complete polarizing magnitude of unimaginable. There are two opposite poles here – meaning that you can either to enjoy it or to disavow it.


    The appreciation would definitely be in the form of artistry and craftsmanship. ‘The Tree of Life’ boasted with some of the amazing and ingenious shots. Malick brilliantly use his upper hand in cinematographic views plus the camera works to do the work for him. For that, the enjoyment about this movie is that it allows the audience to marvel at the beautiful sceneries of various places like you have never enjoyed before. Microscopically, Malick decided to shoot it close-up to the natural objects like trees, weeds and even floating bubbles to highlight the natural theme and the society during that era. On a larger scale, he pulls in excellent feats symbolizing the grace and nature. Just look at the creation of the earth in the beginning and the destruction in the end.

    In contrast, the plot is presented as an impressionistic scheme that is seems difficult to indulge with. There is no clear forward button along the story line but it is pretty much concentrated on these relatively straight forward themes about the nature, the grace, the wonder of the world, as well as the struggle of a relationship between an authoritarian father and his rebellious son. Instead of chalking on the screen board, ‘Tree of Life’ is more of a canvas painting that not many will understood the echoing soulful messages embedded in it. Mainstream audiences, as the result, will find it hard to apprehend the movie, not to mention even to enjoy it.


    ‘The Tree of Life’ is a complex maneuver about life from a perspective of an average family, but it boasts an uneasy impressionistic art that may not be fully understood by many. Yet, the movie is a pure beauty and breathes in poetic tone for the story about nature, grace and the meaning of life.

    MY RATING:
    Story: 3.0
    Casts: 4.0
    Cinematography: 4.5
    Effects: 4.0
    GREEN-TEA-O-METER: 13.9/20.0

    'THE TREE OF LIFE' is nominated for BEST PICTURE, BEST DIRECTOR (Terrence Malick) and BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY (Emmanuel Lubezki) for the 84th Academy Awards
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