Monday, August 8, 2011

See It or Skip It: Tree of Life

    I saw the Cannes award winning film when it was first released in May and yet it still resonates with me. It's controversial (to say the least) but for those who haven't seen it wonder what the notoriety is all about. Why do a batch of critics love it and why do others hate it with a passion?

    Now, I'll start with the positive: Brad Pitt (for some - enough said). We know now -besides his hubba, hubba good looks - he's a great actor (Legends of The Fall, anyone?) His portrayal as a married father of three boys in the 1950s is the most gentle yet stern I've ever seen him as. He believes in disciplining his sons to the brink of hatred. The boys resent him as he slaps a son in one scene and then regrets the harshness and becomes "loving" in the next. The oldest son becomes Sean Penn (who is only in the movie for LITERALLY 5 minutes). The young actors who play his sons provide what I like to call the "Dakota/Ellie Fanning" quality. It's a compliment! These child actors are bound to have successful career as adults.  Jessica Chastain looks lovely as the young mother but she basically says three full sentences through the entire time. Was she there as eye candy?

    The family's story is quite bland. You don't care about them. I didn't feel a connection to these characters like I anticipated nor is there much dialogue throughout the film. I want to say this is a bad film but I just can't. Director Terrence Malick flashes visually stunning images of the sea, earth, middle America, and the creation of it all. It's a work of art yet if I wanted to see these things, I'd prefer to go to a museum. There is an "epic" scene of the big bang with volcanoes erupting, waves flowing, and trees breezing. Once again, all are aesthetically beautiful but it's overwhelming and not in a good way. I don't even want to begin to understand why the director included a 5 minute scene with dinosaurs. Really? What's the point?!

    The film is grandiose. Many have called it pretentious. Over 10 people walked out of my matinee screening with about less than 25 people to begin with. After numerous complaints, a theater in Connecticut posted a disclaimer to patrons. AMC will not refund your money after 30 minutes into the movie. I didn't walk out because I paid for my ticket! If I didn't walk out of Epic Movie, I'm not walking out of anything. The bar is set LOW. But I stayed mostly because I was starting to doze off and was too comfy to move.


*Rent on Netflix for the images*

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