Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life is written and directed by Terrence Malick and stars Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain. The film centers around a family in the 1950s and follows the eldest son, Jack (Hunter McCracken) as he slowly discovers the innocence of his childhood is slipping away.
The Tree of Life was one of the worst films I have ever seen. It was beyond a disappointment. The film starts off with Pitt and Chastain receiving news that one of their sons have died. Then, for a good forty five minutes the film shows images of nature, the solar system, the sun and even dinosaurs, all with church-like hymns playing in the background. Then there a few fleeting images that are never ever explained throughout the entire film. To be honest, the only reason I didn’t turn this off was because I was interested to see how and which brother died. But, unfortunately the film never lets the audience know how the brother died. It constantly leaves the audience guessing, which for some might sound great, and sometimes I enjoy films that leave me guessing, but to not even know the characters’ names or the plot of the film, is a little too vague for me.

The acting was decent. Pitt and Chastain portray husband and wife. Pitt is the stern father that tries to teach his sons how to be men. Chastain is the sweet, loving mother that just allows the boys to be boys. Obviously, the boys enjoy their time with their mother a lot more than their father, and most of the scenes are when they are young. Sean Penn portrays the eldest son Jack, as an adult, and is probably not even in the film for more than fifteen minutes. He doesn’t really speak either, therefore I cannot comment on his acting. McCracken, who portrays the young Jack, delivered a fine performance. He was clearly troubled and confused about life and his faith. But, unfortunately I felt as if this film was half a silent film, due to the fact that the music overpowered much of the scenes and there was barely any speaking at all.

This film had a ton of voice-overs, which again, I usually like voice-overs in films, but in this film, it was awful. It was impossible to hear the whispers of the voice-overs and even the characters are mumbling or whispering which makes it difficult to understand. But, even hearing what the characters and voice-overs say won’t help the audience fully understand the point of this film.

In conclusion, I wouldn’t recommend The Tree of Life to anyone. It was confusing, too long, and a complete waste of time. If you have seen this film, please share your thoughts and comments and if you think this should or shouldn’t have been nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. If you haven’t seen this film, well, you’ve been warned.

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