Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thoughts on Tree of Life

So I saw Tree of Life yesterday. And it was alarming and tense and inscrutable and random and kind of a mess at times.

I loved it.

It was this incredible look into what it means to wrestle with the forces of influence that exert themselves within; specifically through the perspective of a boys parents. There's something simply incredible in that. I was blown away by how realistically they showed the growth of the sons in this movie. That's something so hard to accomplish in film. Usually you have people go through these 5 minute long, montage-laden arcs where they are completely changed at the end or you have completely unbelievable growth where a person changes for no reason whatsoever. But there was something so genuine about the way in which the main characters changed, struggled, grappled with their lives and selves. It was wrenching.

It's also this collection of incredibly realized but very random images of creation. There's a reason for it and it really makes sense once you've seen the whole piece so I don't want to ruin it but it really sticks in your craw. There's something so humbling about seeing the complexity and diversity and scope of creation. It's mind blowing really. There were moments where I didn't really even know how to handle the images I was seeing. It's basically Malick's take on the speech in Job where God asks Job "Where were you..." and then gives a rundown of creation's beauty and His hand in it. I'm still processing the selection of images the placement of music.

Finally, with a couple exceptions, the performances are subdued and textured and amazing. The kids they found for this movie really knock it out of the park and Jessica Chastain and Brad Pitt really do an incredible job of portraying very real people without falling too far into archetypes.

So if you want to see a dense and challenging and alarming and beautiful film go see tree of life. It's amazing.

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