Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Terrence Malick’s Moody “Tree of Life” Stars Brad Pitt


Terrence Malick’s “Tree of Life” is a long slow meditation on life, philosophy, death, the galaxy, cosmos, and suburban life in the nineteen fifties. It’s been on the shelf for two years, perhaps hoping to mature like a fine wine. But while beautiful to look at, the film is frustratingly incoherent. Malick may be exploring themes from his youth including an abusive father. But he’s done it more through vivid imagery than actual script, story or dialogue. There are long stretches of National Geographic type videos and moody renderings of Texas. Malick recreates the big bang, Genesis, and a few operas. Brad Pitt is evocative, Sean Penn is wasted, and like Jessica Chastain has almost no dialogue. Much of Tree of Life is a mystery. Malick as we know works in mysterious ways. That “Tree of Life” gets a commercial release I think is important, though. This will not be a blockbuster. But in many ways it’s a work of art and may take time to appreciate. American filmmakers are rarely allowed to do this so bravo to Fox Searchlight. I do wish the movie had a stronger narrative. But that’s the director’s choice. Malick does include my favorite piece of music, “Die Moldau” by Smetana. So that’s something. Meantime the director is AWOL from his own press conference, unfortunately.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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